Friday, December 08, 2006


Dear Jan:

This season invites everyone to meditate in what this year has brought to our lives, all of it, the good, the bad and the neutral; to count your blessings and be thankful. Some songs say it is a season to be jolly; for some the season if full of sad or painful memories, in particular those who have lost someone dear; for others, this is just another season of shopping to calm their own guilt, or buy influence or affection.

What did this year brought for you?

  • You had a massive brain haemorrhage in early February
  • As a result, for months you lost functioning of the right half of your body, your ability to speak, to read and to write; you spent four months in hospital; you continue to be an out-patient in a rehab hospital
  • You suffer from right neglect, fatigue syndrome, you are under a medication with nasty side effects, your short term memory comes and goes, you have aphasia \
  • You lost six months of teaching, you experience generalized pain and most of the time are freezing even when the thermostat is set to 25 CÂș,

How can you be jolly or thankful under these circumstances? It would seem that of all people, you are fully justified to complain against life. Nonetheless, in the mate paint of everyday life, I see your thankful heart clearly. Like a femenine version of Job you quietly say: God gives and God takes away, blessed be His name.

Where do you draw the strength to keep things in perspective and know the big picture? It comes from this deep sense of identity that you draw from your faith. You know who you are. You know that you are not what your mind tells you, but what God tells you. And for that you can be thankful. Thankfulness and joy are connected somehow, and you not only know the connection but fully live it! It is a strong statement of the values from which you live, two of which are: that you are not your circumstances, and that God knows what this is all about.

I asked you a few weeks ago what did you see in your life during the past few months? your response revealed crystal clear what you believe. You said:

“I see God allowing this for me to learn more trust in Him, more freedom from the obvious, more reliance on my partner, that my happiness in not based on my circumstances, that all this works for the best in a mysterious way”

I totally agree. I don’t experience suffering in my body, however, walking along your path has been on occasion very painful, and yet, somehow in the darkest moments, when I feel that I am at the end of my rope, there is light! , there is that ray of hope that brings us always into the open and remind us that we are more than this pain, that we are better for the suffering experienced, that maybe we are a bit more human for it, more understanding of those who suffer. So, we cough out the pain and rejoice.

Yeah! Let’s rejoice and laugh even when tears are rolling down our eyes. Our life is good with everything and everyone in it! Thanks be to God.


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