Monday, January 01, 2018

MISSING THE OBVIOUS - by Eleanor Shepherd

 As I began to think about posting a blog again on the first day of the New Year, I wondered how on earth I could find anything interesting or original to say for the occasion. It may be impossible to do so, but my reflections took me to some ideas that had not before been associated with the New Year in my mind.

            Over Christmas, I unfortunately had to spend two days in bed in a hotel, too sick to appreciate the time with family and wanting nothing more than to sleep and find a cure for my out of sorts system. The drive home seemed endless and I was so relieved to crawl into my own bed and as I shivered under the covers, prayed that I would finally feel better in the morning. Amazingly, when I awoke, I knew the illness had passed and my health had returned. I still had a few lingering symptoms, but I knew that I was going to be fine.
            That morning, the words that I had read in an email from someone who sent the answer to a prayer request to our World Guild prayer team seemed to ring true for me. As she recorded how our prayers had contributed to her recoverey she said, “It is amazing how wonderful it feels to be well again. We so often take that for granted until sickness hits us.” I knew what she was talking about. I had whispered to myself, as I stepped out of bed that morning, “It feels so good to have a normally functioning body.”

            That is the way it seems so often for us. When things are going well we take for granted that all the priviledges and opportunities that we have are normal. We expect that we should have the opportunity to review the year that has passed and plan for the year ahead with certain alterations we would like to make to life better for ourselves or for those who are near and dear to us. Yet for many, life is not like that.

My recent illness reminded me that there are those in cannot take a healthy body for granted. Though they might wish for health in the year that lies ahead they will still have to struggle with a precarious existence. What could my wish be for them for this New Year? Perhaps that people like me would be a little more sensitive and take the time to notice and encourage them as we have opportunities, or even make a deliberate effort to go where they are. That might give a lot more meaning to my New Year.

            Then there are so many in our world that are living with an insecurity that I cannot even

imagine, having lost almost all that they held dear and not knowing what tomorrow holds, let alone another year. A safe refuge would be an answer to their prayers. What do I think when I realize these ordinary people like me, just happen to have had their lives turned upside down by being at the wrong place at the wrong time, through no fault of their own. I know that I can do little to offer any kind of Happy New Year wishes to them. However, I can bring their plight to the One who does the impossible and I can make it my business to look for ways to contribute to justice where I am, so their number does not increase. It seems so little, but if I can encourage others too, to respond in mercy and not judgement perhaps eventually we can contribute to at least a less sad, and perhaps even a tolerable year for those brothers and sisters of ours.

  Let’s decide that as we enjoy the many advantages that are ours, we will not only offer God our gratitude but also our personal willingness to find ways to make this a better world in 2018. I am sure He will show us how.

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1 comment:

Peter Black said...

Eleanor, I'm sorry you were sick and unable to participate fully in your family's Christmas celebrations but am glad for your recovery. You're right on regarding the tendency for us to take for granted the multiple benefits that many of us enjoy, while so many lives have been turned upside down or experience privation. May our contributions, whatever their form and however small, be used of God to bless and ameliorate situations in Jesus' name. ~~+~~

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