Saturday, December 24, 2011

Encouraging Words for the New Year: A Healthy Life by Jaye Lewis

I have never been an athlete.  I’ve never had much interest in sports, ever since I stopped playing touch-football with the boys.  I tried tennis.  I hit the ball too high, too long, and way over into left field.  I’ve tried softball.  I don’t know why it’s called “softball,” because it felt pretty hard when it hit me in the eye.  I tried running, but I couldn’t get serious about it unless someone was chasing me.  I tried swimming, but even though I float like a cork, and have had numerous lessons, I can’t seem to get over the idea, that I’m really going to drown.  Finally, I settled on walking, and for a number of years, I walked three to five miles a day. 

I’m never going to be an athlete, but I make do, especially in my mid-life years.  Which brings a question to my mind.  When did I hit mid-life?  I remember that when I hit thirty, I thought my life was over.  I remember my fortieth birthday, I was suddenly “over the hill.”  However, it was at fifty that I began to discover “me.”  I didn’t have to run, jump, play tennis, or prove myself in any athletic way.  I could just “be.”

Fifty became the beginning of my age of enlightenment.  I figured that as long as I was in fair health, I had another fifty or so years ahead of me.  Then came the life threatening asthma attacks.  A disease that had been merely an annoyance, was now in control of my life.  Within months I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and arthritis.  At fifty-five I found out about my diabetes, and I became fascinated with pharmaceuticals, hoping that they could give me quality of life. 

One day, when I was least expecting it, I became free.  I discovered that God had given me a priceless gift.  Time.  I began by noticing the sunsets, and I had the time to stop and really wonder, at the beauty and magnitude of it all.  I moved on to the sunrises, and I quickly found out that if I wasted the early morning on self-pity, I missed the loveliest part of the day.  I began to notice feelings of gratitude.  I found myself with time to witness the changing of the seasons:  that first whisper of spring, with its tender green shoots; the warmth of summer, with it’s flowers, bees and butterflies; the rustling of copper-colored leaves beneath my feet in the fall; and the hush of that first winter snow.
When illness would hit me, leaving me alone and housebound, I began to enjoy the solitude. I had time to reflect, gather my thoughts, and pray at leisure.  I found that I was experiencing this mid-life season, and I was no longer missing every moment, shackled to the chains of worry and what might have been.  Worrying about tomorrow only served to make me overlook the blessings of today.
It’s not always easy.  A few loads of laundry and a pile of dishes can take an entire day; but then I don’t push myself much.  I often neglect to make the bed, as I watch the rosy glow of dawn meet the rising sun.  I have time to walk our wooded acre with my little dachshund straining at the leash.  I read the signs with him, sniffing the air, and gazing out at whatever takes my fancy.  I spend my time by studying the sky with the same intensity that my little dog studies the ground.
I get to meet the day, every day.  I get to say good-night to the ever deepening sky.  I’ve studied a lot of sunsets, in the last fifteen years, and I’ve never seen two that were exactly alike.  I’ve learned to know my Creator as I never have before, and I’ve made my own mind up about the mysteries of life.  I am quite certain that all of this creation is no mere accident.
I feed the birds, and I take great delight in their multicolored hues.  I drag a chair to stand on, so that I can fill the feeders without help.  I say a prayer as I struggle, thankful to be able to do something for someone besides myself.  I often chuckle at all the pretensions of my former youth.  I take great delight in my life.  I thank God for all the precious little things of every day.  It has take me many years, but I have finally come to understand what real health is.  It is a health of the soul, and when I have real health, then I truly have everything.

© Jaye Lewis, 2000

With Love,
Jaye Lewis

May God Grant You a New Year Filled With Happiness!!!!!

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