Living Life in a Bed of Grateful

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV

He wasn’t expecting us.

We walked though the wide open door, past his cool framed Rolling Stones poster and trusted friends disguised as books.

The room was dim, illuminated by a tiny light near the bed where he was sleeping…that is, until he heard my husband’s voice rambling about some college memory that they both shared.

A smile danced across his face as he opened his eyes.

Their conversation was immediate and familiar and like any catchup between longtime buds.

Except, it wasn’t.

Michael has MS. He’s called a nursing home his home for eight years. His days and nights are spent in a small room that he shares with another soul…one that he’d never met before they became roommates…their residence divided only by a thin curtain. 

He is 64 years young.

He can’t walk anymore and only has minimal use of his left hand. He relies on others to feed him, bathe him, move him…you get the picture…and yet, his attitude beautifully adjusts ours toward grateful every time we visit him.

Every single time.

His limited view from the confines of his bed invites endless possibilities into his days.

In the name of grateful.

Savor the everyday stuff.

It was almost time for dinner, so we asked him what he “ordered” for his meal. He grinned and explained that he doesn’t get a choice in the matter, but assured us that the three meals he received each day were just fine with him. He continued, with excitement sprinkled through his words, to tell us about their “new chef” and the possibility of changes in the menu…a menu that he has to accept…a menu that he’s quite grateful for. 

I thought about our well-stocked frig at home and the ability to drive-thru or drive to a restaurant, a grocery store, or anywhere for that matter.

Stuff that most of us tend to take for granted on a daily basis.

And, I wondered…what if we traded the everyday granted for the everyday grateful? 

Man oh man, I want to try, don’t you?

“”I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11,13 NIV 

Make more room.

I noticed that he didn’t have a television or a computer. Curious, I asked him why. He responded that he didn’t have an interest in those things anymore. But, his eyes glistened as he glanced towards his bulging bookshelves. His voice filled with anticipation as he spoke about his books like loyal companions…how they took him places he’d never go…how they told him stories he’d never heard…how they taught him things he was grateful (!) to know.

Things he would never had known otherwise.

Soak that in, dear one. 

Are there changes we can implement into our lives to make more room for grateful? 

Less tv and more time to listen? 

Less social media and more real life conversations?

Less about me and more about others?

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:3-4 NIV

Look and see.

His mouth was dry, so I asked if he’d like a drink from the stainless steel tumbler on his tray table. He nodded “yes”, so I took the straw and placed on his lips to enjoy a couple sips of his favorite soft drink.

But, instead of feeling embarrassed by my assistance, he spoke with great enthusiasm, “Hey, do you have one of these…a Yeti? They are the best thing ever! They keep my Pepsi cold, even overnight!”

I was moved by his joy.

I was humbled by his words.

His small request brought me to something way bigger than the desire to get a Yeti, y’all.

It took me directly to grateful.

Grateful nudges us to pause and ponder God’s blessings.

Blessings that tend to lodge in the crevices of our daily because, well, we rarely slow down long enough to look and see.

Our never-give-it-a-second-thought routine might be the best part of another person’s day.

Like drinking Pepsi from a Yeti.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV

When it was time to leave, we lingered a little longer than usual. I put my cheek next to Michael’s as Frank grabbed his hand, thanking him for their 40 year friendship. All of us had tears…not tears of sadness, but rather, tears of grateful.

The forever kind.

And, as we walked out that wide open door, I turned back to absorb the bed of grateful that changed my perspective.

That changed me, beloved.

It was beautiful.

May grateful change us all to love one another even more. XO

Spread your joy,

tina

22 Comments

  1. Tina, my Daddy had MS and died from it way too young at age 42. I never heard him complain and he did go to Mayo Clinic . While there, they tried many treatments and although none worked for him, I like to think he helped others like your friend later down the road.

    1. Thanks for sharing that about your Daddy, Christina. Every day is truly a gift, isn’t it? Love you, friend. XO

  2. Tina,
    As always, you have brought tears to my eyes by your beautiful words. You’ve made me once again stop and thank God for my many blessings. One of my blessings is knowing you and how strong you are in your faith! Have a blessed week!

    1. I’m grateful for you and your dear encouragement, Sallie. Hugs to you! XO

  3. You two visiting was probably the best medicine. He sounds like a special guy. Prayers for him.

  4. Thank you for pointing me toward a grateful heart. Thank you for sharing Scripture to boldly proclaim the way to gratefulness.
    Continue to point folks to Jesus!
    I look forward to reading your blog????

  5. Beautiful, and brought tears to my eyes. A great reminder to be intentional about being grateful for even the little things in life. Thank you, Tina!!! God bless. xo

  6. Thank you for the beautiful words (and update) about Michael. We not heard from him in quite awhile and lost track of him.
    He sounds like he has a wonderful attitude.
    I have a fun memory of him and Gibby. During one summer at Malone we were all taking classes and a bunch of us piled into a car one evening, drove north somewhere, and attended a Doobie Brothers concert. Michael was clapping his hands so hard his watch broke.
    That’s so cool that y’all are able to visit him. When you see him again please tell him Bugs and I send our love.
    Maybe you could send me his address.

    1. Oh Brenda, your memories made me laugh and cry with grateful…so wonderful! Yes, it was a blessing to see him. Address on the way. Our love to you and your dear family! XO

  7. Well, there you go again, Nailed it! Thank you Tina just what I needed today. I have spent time reflecting on my life this week. How many blessings I have and are so grateful for! Life’s a journey never knowing what a day may hold for us. I try to enjoy the life God gives me even with the difficulties each day. Thank you for sharing you are God’s blessing to many people!

    1. Grateful for YOU, awesome friend, and your encouragement. You are a blessing to many! Keep on. XO

  8. These are special times for the the three of you keep spreading joy and reminding us if we live in a state of gratitude we live in a feeling of abundance

    1. Grateful for your beautiful words of encouragement, Janet! You bring me joy! Hugs and luv, friend. XO

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