Sunday, May 31, 2009

Counting Blessings

The past year has been a tough one for me. I can't walk without pain any more and need a knee replacement. I'm not that old and feel sad that I can't garden, mow my lawn, do housework, walk, and shop with the ease that I once could. People have broken my heart, and I working hard to put it back together again with God's help.

Because of the sorrows I have experienced not only this year but throughout my life, I started writing this blog. I have discovered that you can find peace amid sorrow, even when you heart is shattered with grief and pain.

One secret to serenity is counting our blessings. I know we've all heard the drill: Count your many blessings, name them one....but when you're overwhelmed with suffering, it's easy to focus on the things we lack. We all long for good health, kind friends, and a loving family, but some do not enjoy these gifts. When we struggle with life's challenges, we need--more than ever--to focus on our blessings.

Yesterday I visited an elderly woman who is losing her sight and hearing. Widowed, Helen lives in a retirement facility. During the past months, macular degeneration has stolen her vision from her. Now her hearing is fading as well. She can't hear conversations at a dinner table or with a soft-spoken friend. And yet Helen was counting her blessings.

She refused to focus on her losses and instead celebrated her many blessings. She reflected on her grandchildren and children and her love for them. She expressed gratitude that she can still walk and think and remember. She laughed and smiled and cracked jokes. She refuses to live with self-pity or misery.

Helen loves the Lord and feels the comfort of the Spirit in her life. "The Holy Ghost is my constant companion," she said. "I am never alone, and I feel the peace, joy, and solace of the Comforter when I am discouraged."

Helen's life shows that the "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, [and]faith." She radiates love and goodness in her countenance and her words. Her life, though difficult, is peaceful, even though it is laced with sorrow.

We teased each other, reflected on our blessings, and shared memories. I shouted loudly, and Helen heard most of the things I said. Our six-year friendship grows sweeter with each visit.

For all those who, like Helen, are experiencing bitter loss, we can "let the peace of God rule in [our] hearts, and be...thankful." Gratitude is truly one of the secrets of living a happy and peaceful life.

© Carol Brown

1 comment:

Thanks for commenting. I learn so much from the things you write.