Tuesday, January 26, 2016


I’m always amazed at what I take for granted… until I don’t have it.

In Tanzania, it was often electricity. Hot water (for a shower). Or clean water, even (the kind you’d be willing to use for a shower, not the kind you’d actually drink).
Picture from: Lyndy Henrickson

While I’m still amazed at the ability to get hot, clean (drinkable even!) water out of our shower faucet, and doubt I’ll take that for granted any time soon… most recently, I’ve been even reminded of some even more basic elements of life we take for granted.

Over Christmas, I got a stomach bug – the kind that won’t even let you drink a few sips of water without quickly ejecting them. I was beyond thirsty (although the kind nurse at urgent care didn’t think I was dehydrated, thanks to ever great-looking veins), and was at the desperate point of wanting to quench my thirst. I meditated on the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16:19-31) in a very real way, and understood the desire (in some small way) to get a single drop of water from someone’s finger into my mouth to help appease my need for fluid. So I got creative. If I couldn’t actually DRINK the water, I could at least put it in my mouth, right? Enter scene left: me standing in the bathroom pouring water into my mouth, holding it, spitting it out, and starting over again. It wasn’t quite relief, but it was certainly a good start until the anti-nausea meds kicked in and I could keep something down!

More recently (this week, in fact), a cold coupled with teaching Sunday School brought me to the point not just a head-cold, but no voice. While I’ve had students choose to “lose” the use of their voice – or leg – or arms – during Special Needs day in my classroom at school (to understand a tiny bit of what having a disability feels like - often with humorous and thought-provoking results), I don’t think I’ve actually ever lost my own voice to the point of a whisper.
And wow, has it been humbling. When handing off a package to a friend, I couldn’t properly (in my mind) explain why it had taken longer than expected to get them what they needed. And although I’m by nature a listener, I’ve realized in the last few days just how much I try to defend myself through words when I feel I’ve been wronged or judged… often with my husband (who is, in all reality, just trying to be helpful and loving). But when even whispering requires extra effort, and I have to choose between defending myself or sharing my thoughts on something else a little later? Suddenly priorities kick in and I’m just thankful for the few words I might be able to share about my day.

And so, in good ol’ Holland, MI, I’m reminded yet again in ways I didn’t expect of how to be thankful for what I have. Whether electricity, heat in our home, or a voice to ask questions over my ever-working smartphone… I am more than grateful for what I’ve been given. Especially for the people around me who love on and care for me even when I’m not as thankful as I should be!

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