Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A Bag of Blessing

July 5, 2016

This morning I ran into a young woman I hadn't seen since some years ago when she was a child growing up. She now has a child of her own, a child with apparent learning disabilities. She introduced her daughter to me, we chatted for a few moments and went on our respective ways. My next stop was coffee with my friend Cameron who is like a son to me. We talked about a situation I'm facing before I we both had to move on. A visit with a friend suffering from schizophrenia followed by another with my friend Rick whose stroke left his left side paralyzed and him unable to speak. I had wanted to visit with my friend Rell, but it was too dangerous for me to do so with my congestion and his weakened immune system.

In 1972, Kris Kristofferson was at a low period in his life. He attended a church service led by Rev. Jimmie Snow, son of country music Hall of Famer Hank Snow. When Snow asked if anyone was feeling lost, Kristofferson's hand reached for the sky. Soon afterward, he wrote the lyrics to what was to become a hit song, "Why Me, Lord?" in which he asks, "What have I ever done to deserve even one of the blessings I've known?" That song is the story of my life. How do I account for the blessings I've known? I've worked hard throughout my life, but the raw materials of it were given to me. The young woman and her daughter, my schizophrenic friend, Rick sitting in a nursing home unable to speak, my friend Rell struggling through chemotherapy for Double-Hit Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, and me with nothing more than a slight cold. Linda and I enjoy retirement together, we are surrounded by loving family. We worked hard at our jobs and at raising our kids, but the ability and wisdom to do so were gifts from God.

It's called grace; God's blessings freely given simply because he loves us, not because we deserve them. There is an old Jewish tale of how when God created the Promised Land, He sent an angel with two bags of rocks to create the entire world. One of the bags broke as the angel flew over Palestine. It feels to me that when God sent his angel with two bags of blessings for all the people of the world, one of them broke over me. I don't understand it, but am deeply grateful for it.

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