Saturday, May 24, 2014

The day is full of possibility

Happy Saturday! I feel like a kid waking up on Christmas (or Eid or Hanukah   or whatever holiday you celebrate) morning. Do you remember that excitement about opening gifts and then looking at all your new toys and not knowing which one you wanted to play with first?  Or the big decision about which of your new school outfits you wanted to wear on the first day of school?  Well, I’m feeling that way today because the 3-day Memorial Day weekend has arrived and I have so MANY things that I am excited about doing today, even though they involve what many typically call WORK.

 Its early Saturday morning, still dark outside, and I can’t decide what I want to do first when daylight appears. The list is endless:  garage saling?  Working on my newly dug pond?  Planting the flats and pots of flowers that have been sitting in the driveway for the past week? Putting air in my bike tires and taking a ride?  Floating on my big raft in my little 3 ½ foot deep pool?  Digging and planting my vegetable garden? Visiting with my aunts, uncles, and cousins who have come up to Pip’s Place for the weekend? Sitting around the campfire? Going fishing or walking or mushroom hunting?
My house is a big mess, but I don’t care. My laundry needs to be done, but I have plenty of clean clothes to wear, so it can wait. I have hundreds of unread e-mails in my in-box, but they’ll still be there later. Today is going to be a BEAUTIFUL, sunny and warm day…..and I have so many fun things to choose from to do today….so LIFE IS VERY GOOD!

This morning I am overwhelmed with such a sense of gratitude. Only a few years ago, I would be dreading the arrival of a holiday weekend. My extended family always comes up to the family cabin to kick off the summer, put the boats in the water, mow grass, etc… Each of them would be feeling the same excitement I do today, but not me. I would be miserable because all I could do was sit in a chair outside and watch everyone else have fun. It was extremely difficult to even get around, pull that big walker out of the car and try to get it to the campfire just so I could visit for a few minutes with my family. I would feel depressed because I couldn’t participate in any of the activities taking place around me. I had very little to talk to my cousins about because my life consisted of nothing but pain, medication, sadness, going to work, eating, going to bed, over and over again every day.

 I’d listen as my cousin told of his son’s baseball game and how great he was playing this year; but I knew that I’d never be able to go to a game to watch him because it would be too hard. I’d listen to my brother and his wife telling me of the great bargains they found at the garage sale down the road, but I knew that I could no longer garage sale because it was just too much work to get in and out of the car, let alone try to use the cane to walk up someone’s drive way. I’d watch as my nieces tried to ride their bikes in the sandy gravel of these up north dirt roads, but I knew that I hadn’t been on a bike in years and I couldn’t’ even walk alongside them. The entire weekend would be depressing because everyone was living life and I was merely existing, trapped in my 400 pound body. What a miserable place to be, but “Theresa doesn’t live there anymore!”  Thank you, GOD!

At that time in my life, I had absolutely no concept that my life could be anything but what it was. I had no comprehension that I would ever be able to be free from the bondage of weight. I had no hope or faith that a day like today was even possible. But, by the grace of God, I have been blessed with this miracle, and here I am, sitting here overwhelmed with a list of what most people would perceive as just plain “work” and I am overjoyed!  I literally don’t know what I want to do first and life is so very good, even though by the end of the weekend, I’ll likely be very stiff and sore from the yard work, sunburned from being outside all weekend, and head back to work exhausted, I will do so with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the blessings that God has bestowed on me.

So, my friends…. I encourage you today…….If you are waking up this day feeling like a spectator in life watching those around you LIVE; if you are feeling trapped in a body that is hindered by weight or addiction; if you are overwhelmed with anxiety, depression, grief, sadness, pain…whatever; if you are feeling hopeless and discouraged, I say to you: You do not have to live there anymore either!  This is not how your story has to end! You cannot always change your circumstances, bring loved ones back from the dead, suddenly double the size of your bank account, or eliminate serious illness….but YOU CAN change  some things about your life, your attitude, and your sense of wellness. 

Are you willing to put forth the effort?  Are you willing to take the necessary steps?  Are you willing to do whatever it takes?  I’m not going to tell you that it is easy because it absolutely is NOT EASY. It’s not easy to watch everyone else eat burgers and potato salad. It’s not easy to watch everyone else drink a cold beer and eat pretzels. It’s not easy to say, “No thanks” when a niece or nephew offers you a s’more or camper pie at a campfire. Even today, at this point in my journey, it won’t be easy to abstain from those things….but, my friends….. I AM TELLING YOU…. It is so absolutely, positively worth it.  The sheer joy and excitement I feel today….. (And seriously about what? Weeding…digging…planting…biking….things most people would consider work)….is SO WORTH IT! 

Allow yourself a few minutes this weekend to ask yourself what you would like next Memorial Day weekend to be like. What would you like to be doing then that you can’t do today?  What would you like your life to look like?  And then….What are you going to do about it?  Make the best of what your life is today…because regardless of your situation or circumstances….each day is a gift. Don’t waste it; cherish it.  Have a beautiful weekend!