Today I am grateful for my trials.
Yes. I am grateful my life has not been smooth-sailing for 62 years. For, if it had been, I would not have known the difference between pure joy and ultimate grief.
There is opposition in all things.
I've had my share of physical trials. And, they are no more than many of you have. But, other trials have pulled me up by my neck and helped me realize how precious each individual on this earth is.
It took my mother seven years to die. She had her first heart attack on the day Elvis Presley died. And no, it wasn't because of news of his death. I was living with her and dad just outside of Washington, DC and preparing for my upcoming marriage. One night, I heard her in the bathroom all night. In the morning, I couldn't get the door open, for her feet were blocking it.
I yelled for dad, and we called EMS. It was then that we learned she had suffered a heart attack during the night. I kept my sisters in Ohio informed of her status during the many hours dad and I spent at the hospital.
Mom would never quite be the same again. Strokes and more heart attacks would follow, but she lived long enough to see all of her grandchildren.
Having children has been and is a trial that I never could have imagined. From the sleepless nights to the frets about schoolwork to the runaway to the head-on collision one of them suffered made for lots of anxious moments.
Trials also plagued my adult children, which also affected us. We had two grandchildren born at 27 weeks, and another one later at 28 weeks. I had never held a baby that small, and was scared he would fall through the crook of my arm.
Now, why am I grateful for these things?
Well, I wasn't necessarily grateful at the time I was going through them. But, hindsight giving us a clearer view of things has helped me to realize that I am the person I am today because of them.
I know how to mourn with those who mourn...because I have lost loved ones.
I know how to offer comfort to the parent of a wayward child, because I have experienced the grief that comes with that.
I know how to give hope and encouragement to those who are anxious with a loved one in the hospital, because I have shed tears in hospital hallways, too.
Trials have brought me to my knees in fervent prayer as I sought answers that didn't seem to be clear to me at the time.
Trials have brought me to anger, to pacing the floor, to shouting into my pillow or on to Kerry's chest.
And, all of these have brought me to a place where I have a better understanding that pain is part of life. And...that we can make it through that pain.