Sunday, May 24, 2009

A letter from my Dad

Ryan has been gone 10 years now. In some ways it seems like an eternity, but in other ways it seems only yesterday. I suppose we will grieve our loss forever, but hopefully we are healing along the way. I think that is the difference in grieving and suffering. Continual suffering is unhealthy without healing. Grief can be with us forever, but we can cope with it in healthy ways.

We sometimes sing a song, "Count your many blessings." I often count my blessings when I see someone else having a hard time. A co-worker just had her right kidney and a seven pound cancerous tumor removed. Two weeks later her husband had another open heart surgery and his fourth pacemaker installed - and they are younger than me. Her mother just had breast cancer surgery, and her father-in-law is going to have his right lung removed. It is easy to count my blessings when I think of them.

What I am not so good at is counting my blessings when I am suffering. That is a lot harder because I begin to focus on myself. I've learned that the less you focus on yourself, the happier you will be. When I am down, the focus needs to be changed. I have a great example from one of our former elders. He was a smoker for many years before he became a Christian. After becoming a Christian he decided to quit smoking. He didn't use a patch or gum or a pill or any of the popular quit smoking cures. Instead, he put a small New Testament in the shirt pocket where he used to carry his cigarettes. That way every time he felt the urge to smoke and he instinctively reached for that shirt pocket, he found his New Testament instead of a pack of cigarettes. It reminded him of why he no longer wanted to smoke. It changed his focus. It changed his life.

Change your focus. Count your blessings. And it will surprise you what the Lord has done (and will do).


My Dad has a wonderful way with words even though he is a man of few words. This letter made me realize that we are alot alike when we are suffering. We try to think of others and count our blessings. Just before I read this letter, I opened an email introducing a precious baby into this world. My good friend Amanda had baby Katy yesterday May 23rd. Yesterday, I prayed that God would show me his goodness on such a hard day. He did that. He gave us friends to fellowship with last night and a joyous occasion to celebrate. May 23rd will always be a hard day, but God has given us a new life as a reminder of his majesty. Go check out Amanda's blog and say a prayer for her precious family during this exciting time!


Gena said...

That's a beautiful letter, and beautiful way to remember your brother this weekend. I can only imagine how hard that must be this time of year.

lisa bialon said...

Thinking of you during this difficult time, and the memories this day (well yesterday) holds for you. Your dad did say it well in his letter...thanks for sharing that!

BoggsWifeNMom said...

Those were some wonderful words, and it sure did speak a ton to me. He's completely right and I know personally I need to focus on the many blessings God gives me, each and every day! I know the struggle of grief and I pray for you that you continue to heal while still giving thanks.