|a photo taken by the hospital just a few weeks after transplant...|
Of the many gifts I have received spending my days at the Bone Marrow transplant clinic, one of the most amazing one has been a spirit of thankfulness...Thankfulness that is not based on hollow and whimsical thoughts about how we are thankful for things that are of no consequence. The spirit of thankfulness that I have been given is profound and transforming. Being thankful in ALL circumstances ...that is the concept I needed to really learn...
Sitting at a clinic for hours most every day, I have observed a lot of things. Mondays and Fridays seem to be the most difficult days for families.. Families are tired..they are at the end of their ropes after a long week or weekend of caring for a sick child. Several times, I have stood awkwardly in the hallway as a parent yells at the staff and storms off vowing never to return tot he clinic because of an extremely long wait to see a provider. And yet, I know that the next day at clinic, that parent will be back...facing another day of necessary treatment alongside their child.
A few weeks ago, a mom, with her two small children stormed off the unit because something did not get done for her child that was should have been done. My thought for a moment was," that mom has issues"...it was clear that she didn't handle her frustration well at that moment. Then one week later on a cold and windy day, I was pulling into the Target parking lot. I saw that same Mom struggling to carry bags of groceries across the street to an apartment with her little boys by her side...
one of those little boys was just months post transplant..as evidenced by a bald head and a familiar blue mask to keep away the germs that could threaten his life.
How quick I was to judge. How silly I am to think that I have it rough going through this transplant process with my son. I have an incredible family, my needs are met, my son has been brought from the point of near death and given a new chance at life. I have transportation and a warm home and a faith community that loves, supports and accepts me and my family We have food and clothing and life. We have breath within our bodies and we have Jesus Christ. Above all, I have a God that takes care of all my needs. I have a God who has not given me suffering and trials because he does not care...I have a God who desires that I experience the full satisfaction in really understanding what it means to be thankful...in ALL circumstances.
This Thanksgiving will be like no other. I don't care what we eat. I don't care what we do. I just want our home to be permeated with thankfulness. Somewhere along the way, in our culture, we decided that pain was to be avoided at all costs (I guess that is just part of our original sin nature.) We work hard to shield ourselves from the elements...the rough times...from sacrifice...the pain. We started to live our lives as if God owed us a comfortable life free from difficulties. And when that doesn't happen, we often get angry and shake our fist at God...how could you do this to me, God?! We lose our way...
My life is filled with blessings that look like burdens to many. It is filled with opportunities that look like struggles. There is joy when it seems like there should be only sadness..and their is peace and contentment when fear seems like it would permeate...Yes, God uses our struggles and our pain to bless us in ways we could never have imagined before he opened our eyes to see it.
I am so thankful that my eyes have been opened to sights I did not even know existed. The world seems new to me...the world is illuminated by the light of Jesus Christ. It's so beautiful...and I can not help but praise God for all that I see! We are living each moment as we cling to Christ...and His stronghold on us is our comfort, our strength and our new vision...and I am so very grateful.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thes 5:18