Monday, August 29, 2016

It's My Choice

Last week God gave me two lessons – one in humility and a refresher course in empathy which is continuing even this morning. In last week’s blog I mentioned that God had blessed me with a friend who loves me enough to remind me that it’s not the quantity but the quality of what I do that matters and to help cement that in my mind and my heart, God gave me a good object lesson in what had to be the worst golf game I’ve had since I started swinging a club. The numbers were horrendous but I didn’t give up or throw away my clubs. Instead I thanked God for the object lesson and walked away having to ignore the numbers and truly appreciating the few quality swings and putts I managed that game. The numbers may have been bad but with help from my coach, I learned some things last week that will certainly help me in the quality of my game next week.

These last few weeks, I’ve physically felt weak and limited by pain. This has always been a bad time of year for me. With the high humidity (and soon the pollen count will be rising) I can barely breathe or move between my asthma and arthritis. Everything hurts and taking a full breath is a chore leaving me exhausted and in pain with no respite. I know that in a few weeks when the constant high humidity breaks and the pollen counts level off again, I will feel better but for many people that is not an option. I think of people like my mom who is always dealing with some level of pain between the six different painful medical conditions she lives with every day. Or my dad who has never been sick a day in his life and who has been dealing with a medical condition that has him laid up for the last month and wondering when he will once again feel good. It increases my concern and compassion for those whose lives will never return to the way they were before the crippling effects of a chronic disease took hold of them.

Here’s the part I want to keep uppermost in my mind right now. I get to choose what I learn from last week’s game and from my current health challenge. I could walk away angry and frustrated that even though I was playing for quality, the numbers didn’t show it. Or I could walk away happy to have spent a beautiful afternoon with a friend and enjoying a few good swings and incorporating some adjustments into my putting that will eventually pay off with practice. I could look at last week’s game like a bust or as skill-enhancing exercise. And just in case you think I’m just talking about golf here, this applies to anything I do in life—not just golf. I can choose to look at how a thing affects me or learn how I can use what happened to praise Jesus and share his wisdom and grace with those around me. I’m not feeling my best right now and I can choose to feel miserable and spread that misery around or I can keep my eye on the one who suffered the most for me and let him change that pain and weakness into love and compassion for others. And with the energy of that love and compassion fueling me into action, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, I can bring help, hope, and maybe even a little relief to others.

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