Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Morning

"A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a broken spirit dries up the bones."
Proverbs 17:22

I decided to share the above Bible quote today for 2 reasons.  First, it ties in with my blog friend Trace's decision to choose joy, & second, the doctor I visited last Tuesday made it a point to talk about it.  He was explaining to me how our attitude toward things can literally make us sick.  I am going to try to explain this as he did.  Apparently a lot of our illnesses have a connection to our blood.  Where are our blood cells made?  In our bones!  If the Bible tells us that a broken spirit (bitterness, hatred, anger, self-pity, etc) dries up the bones, then it certainly affects our blood & therefore illness will enter our lives.  Now I know you can't point at a child & say they have an incurable illness because of their bitterness & self-pity, but when a person is older & they are stricken with some sort of disease, they have 2 choices.  They can become bitter & angry, focus on "why me," & spend whatever time they have left on this earth making themselves & everyone around them miserable ... or they can choose to have a positive attitude finding joy in the things they can do & the people around them.

I have a very dear friend who has muscular dystrophy.  She was diagnosed with this disease at the age of 13 & was told that she wouldn't live past the age of 21.  At first she had a hard time dealing with this as she found her body not being able to do the things that other girls her age were doing ... but after a while she decided that she could either be miserable & chase everyone away from her, or she could choose to be happy & take advantage of as many possibilities as she could.  When she turned 21, her doctors told her "well, you won't live past 30."  When she turned 30, they said "you won't live past 40."  Today she is 58.  The dystrophy has robbed her of being able to do many things & has brought other complications with it ... congestive heart failure, Raynaud's disease, thyroid problems, & joint pains, just to name a few.  When I met her she could drive but needed to use a cane to get around.  Eventually she needed a wheelchair if she was going to be out & about for very long.  Then she needed to stay in the wheelchair all the time.  She cannot turn herself in bed.  She cannot even get out of bed.  She has a machine built into the ceiling of her bedroom which hooks around her chest & sort of drags her across the room to her wheelchair in the mornings.  She needs help with just about everything she does.  Right now the disease has progressed to the point where she cannot raise her arms more than a few inches above her waist.  She is housebound for the most part.  I do not know how I would handle these things if they were happening to me but my friend never complains.  She sews, paints beautifully, makes handmade lace, grows orchids, & has a degree in entomology.  She said once that she had the choice to either be bitter about having this disease & make everyone around her so miserable that they wouldn't want to be around her & she would end up bitter & alone, or she could choose to find joy where she could.  She chose joy.      

Sometimes when I find myself complaining about something, I will think of my friend & it's like an immediate wake-up call.  I can get out of my bed in the morning by myself ... no machine or help needed.  I can walk out into the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea.  I can wash my own dishes.  I can do my own laundry.  I can clean my own house.  I can weed my own garden.  I can drive myself anywhere I want to go.  I can shop & carry home my purchases.  I can decorate my Christmas tree.  

There is always something in our lives to be thankful for ... always something in which we can find joy.  There is a poem I memorized as a teenager because it made such an impact on me.  The title of the poem is Desiderata.  One of the last lines in the poem is "With all its sham, drudgery, & broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world."  It is.  We just need to choose a good attitude.  We need to choose joy.   


bettyj said...

wonderful post, Shirlee. It is true, we can make ourselves happy or we can be complainers. circumstances are ofter beyond our control. How we handle them isn't. I have a friend with MS and when I get to the point of a pity party, I think of her and how she is always smiling.
Have a great week,

Angela said...

Shirlee, Thanks you for such an awakening post. You have one special friend who can be happy and overcome bitterness with her health problems. I have a friend in my life who has chosen to be happy and live everyday to the fullest as she is slowly slipping away everyday. She is like another Mother to me and is the most giving and cheerful person you could meet.
I could not resist so I googled the poem and I must thank you for making me aware of it. Simply beautiful. I had to bookmark it for future reading. Hoping you are having a super Sunday.

jennifer768 said...

Shirlee thanks for another inspiring post !It was very uplifting and you are right our blessings are infinite . The Lord sees us as we are and we are giving nothing that we can not handle as long as we as Him along for the ride.Like Trace I am seeking to find the joy.I don't have to look far.Have a wonderful Sunday ,Jen

Robin at The Primitive Hutch said...

Your post is very touching.
When my Mom had cancer and was suffering so ~ she always said you have to be positive or it will eat you alive.
Prim Blessings

Trace4J said...

SO TRUE! Giant hug to you! We have so much to be thankful for . I lost my dear SIL to horrible cancer. I now feel how can I ever complain. I am human I do. But I wipe off the ugly and Seek Joy!
Your friend is a inspiration.
Blessings Trace

renee said...

So much truth in that! We all need this reminder for sure. I like Joyce Meyers~ she says get rid of the stinkin thinkin! It's true, we are human and we do show our not so good sides often, but I tell you, I am SO grateful for Gods' mercies. I wouldn't want to NOT go through this life without him.
Have a good week!