“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,