Saying you feel blessed is relative. This means that we don’t generally think in terms of being blessed until we speak to someone in a worst situation than we find ourselves, which is what happened to me. As I approach my 67th birthday in 10 days, I am so grateful for the modicum of health that I possess. My best friend has had three strokes, and as a result of the last one, she has been in a rehab center for the last four weeks.
I spoke to her the other day, right after I had walked my daily 100 minutes on the treadmill in our home. She has no feeling in her left foot and cannot place her right foot all the way down, so she had to learn to walk with assistance. It seem so strange for when I think of her in our earlier days, she was the one always in high heels, looking so elegant and beautifully dressed.
I always envied her, because I thought of her as the “lucky” one, for she had two parents who doted on her and bought her anything that she wanted, so she was one of the best-dressed people in school. She was one of the most popular girls in the school, and people could not understand why she insisted on having me around her.
I, too, could not comprehend why she chose to be friends with me, especially as I was probably one of worst-dressed people, wearing the same two or three outfits and two pairs of socks over and over again. It was almost like we had some kind of chemical connection that drew us together, a real “odd couple.”
In my appreciation for her friendship, I would do anything for her, and I did. I remember cleaning up behind her after her first attempt to drink alcohol, so that she would not get in trouble with her parents.
Up until she left to go to college the year before I graduated high school, we spent many an hour driving her daddy’s 1966 blue Impala all around our hometown laughing, hollering at people, and listening to James Brown screaming Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag. I used to want to freeze those times and have them never end.
Over the last 53 years, we have shared so many of our hopes, dreams, trials, and triumphs, mostly at a distance, for I have traveled a long way from my hometown. I adopted my sister’s four children when I was 21 and that meant too many responsibilities to keep running with my home girl.
She stayed in our hometown and I left it to find work that would lift my children and me out of poverty. I went on to earn a doctorate and live my dreams, and she never quite fulfilled her dream to be an interior designer.
Today, people in our hometown who still call me “weird” when they hear that I travel to Europe and am called Reverend Dr. Sowers, marvel that I am the more successful of the two of us. But I believe that because I had to work hard to fulfill my dreams, not having anything given to me, I had more incentive to trust in God to always be my help and hope.
Yesterday my doctor told me that it was amazing that I am in such good health, except for allergies and colds. That got me to thinking about how blessed I really am compared to others my age who have so many health issues. I am learning to feel blessed, no matter how much or how little I have, for it is still more than a lot of people ever have. Maybe that is what the apostle Paul meant by being content in Philippians 4:11-13.
He stated, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Christ who gives me strength.”
Yes, as I prepare to go visit my friend this weekend, I realize that I am majorly blessed, and I do not take it for granted. Instead, I am grateful and thankful for all that God has done for me. I feel a little like King David in 2 Samuel 7:18: Who am I and who is my family, O Lord, that you have brought us this far?