My very close friend had a four day stay in the hospital recently. During his stay, a friend visited him who had recently experienced some of the same health issues that he had. They traded “war stories” of dizziness, loss of heart rate and the vision shutting down. And both agreed that we all take our blessings of health for granted.
Yes, we all seem to blow through our fast-paced lives as if we are invincible. The bad stuff that happens to folks could never happen to us. It’s always the other guy, right?
But when we come face-to-face with a serious situation, we realize that life is very fragile and uncertain. Tragedy will never text you and ask if it is a good day to strike. I love the “Mayhem” commercials that make life’s mishaps personal and remind us of their reality. (The hot charcoal grill thrown in the back of the SUV after the tailgate party is my favorite. I know, I’m weird.)
Storms are part of life and life goes on. We work through setbacks and sad times and life is life. I believe it is a gift of God to us that we are able to rise above these times and see the good and lighter side, even when mayhem comes our way. God’s children are able to rise above it because they know Who ultimately is in charge.
While recovering from finger surgery to remove a very dangerous flesh-eating infection that almost took his life, two “patient care” (I use that description loosely) ladies came to my friend’s hospital room.
One was 40ish, the other in her early 20’s. They emphasized their concern for the patient and if there was anything they could do…etc, etc. The 20 something then asked about the injury. His wife explained what happened and showed her the gruesome pictures of the post-op finger, to which she responded, “Eww! Wouldn’t it have been a lot better to just cut it off?” (They multiply and walk among us daily!)
Fortunately, my buddy has been able to take showers without the bandage and hold it out of the water as much as possible. But he said, “You know, I have never in my life, ever closed the shower door on any finger. But, of course, the first two days that I was home, I closed the shower door, each day, directly on the open wound of my finger! How can one do that!?”
And he found out that the simple task of following his doctor’s orders is not always a good thing. The doctor’s instruction was to keep the hand above the heart as much as possible to prevent swelling. Ok, not too difficult. So, he immediately began the habit of carrying his left hand over his chest. It was bandaged well with white gauze. Kind of awkward and very visible, but no problem.
He and his wife sing in the choir of a sizable Baptist church and he was pleased to be back in worship on that first Sunday after a very hectic and frightening week. He sings in the tenor section and stands in the middle on the front row. His row enters the choir loft first and most of the large congregation is already seated as they arrive. So, there he is, standing in plain view of everyone. The Pastor was sitting on the front pew and, grinning, comes up on the platform and walks right to him.
I simply believe that we cannot take ourselves too seriously in this crazy world we live in. Mind you, I don’t mean that we should not be serious about life and living it well. No, what I refer to is the encouragement to keep the main thing the main thing. The main thing is bigger than our individual mishaps. Going through life, only concerned about ourselves, will make basket cases out of us.
Stop and think about it. When you greet someone and you each exchange “how are you’s,” do you really expect the other guy to unload the truth about how he actually is at that time? No…and he doesn’t want to hear your sad story either.
I know people who will drain your energy telling you how bad they are feeling and all that is wrong with them, the very second you ask, “How ya doin’?” I try to avoid such energy suckers. (And encourage them not to multiply also.)
But when you run across some good humor amid life’s storms, hold on to it and enjoy the light and positive side of life. Like the old saying goes, “When life gives you lemons…” (You know the rest.)
The Bible has much to say about the merry, happy heart. It tells us in Proverbs 15:13 that heartache can crush the spirit, but “a happy heart makes the face cheerful.” Verse 15 says that days of oppression can come, “but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.”
We can all be joyful, even if we aren’t happy. Being happy is dependent on our “happenings.” But the joyful heart sees the bigger picture and personally knows the continuous feast that is enjoyed by a cheerful heart.
The Psalmist said it best in Psalm 144:15, “Happy are the people whose God is The Lord.”