Simply danLrene's Opinion

Work Your Dream

Gifts and Replacement Gifts

When we are young, we think we are invincible and can not be hurt or even lose our lives. The older we get the more we come to appreciate the gifts that we have been given in life and the gift of life itself. We also learn to appreciate the replacement gifts that come when we lose the original gift.

I remember writing once a sort of poem that went something like this “I thank you Lord for feet for many have no feet or only one. I thank you Lord for eyes to see for many are blind. I thank you Lord for ears to hear for many are deaf. I thank you Lord for hands that work for many have no hands or do not have the ability to use them. I thank you Lord for the ability to feel for many can not feel even the slightest touch. I thank you Lord for pain for without pain I would not know what it feels like to have no pain. ….”   and I could go on.

We have many gifts that were given us in life and our eyesight is one of those and we have a second chance with it when it comes to cataracts. As I lay here with my frog eye on to protect my eye, the thought of being able to see my son’s face  clearly when he stands at my door makes me smile. Losing my eyesight has always been my boogie man and I cried tears of relief when the eye doctor said cataracts instead of macular degeneration, which is what I feared the problem was. So, I have had three gifts. The original gift of my eyesight, the gift of the problem being one that can be fixed and the gift of the surgery itself.

I remember when I was told in 2007 that I would need kidney surgery and they may have to take the kidney and in a very cavalier way I said “ok, no problem. I have two kidneys anyway”. Over the next five years, I came to realize just what a gift having two kidneys was as I learned that the kidney disease is in both kidneys. So, losing one was not so simple after all. And the replacement gift came in a partial nephrectomy instead of the total nephrectomy.

I think that it is in what we have lost that we learn to appreciate what we had or have. I am hearing impaired and while I can still hear some, I do not hear like I used to. I have to be facing a person to usually understand them. That created in me the knowledge of what it would be like to lose this gift. I love listening to the birds singing, to my son doing his Andreotti school of driving joke that he does to make me laugh, to hearing my other son’s voice or my Sweetpea or loved ones, to talk to my friends.  What I have already lost made me appreciate more what I still have left….the gift has changed but it is still a gift.

I have lost the ability to just get up and walk. I can take a few steps with forearm crutches but to just walk through my house or outside in the yard…no.  This loss has made me appreciate what I used to be able to do even more and to appreciate what I still can do even greater. I still can put my feet on the floor to turn and sit in my power chair. Many have to have a transporter board or a lift or people helping. So, I am still blessed.

Breathing…now how is that for a gift and yet I use oxygen. I hated this cannulae and the long hose that went with it when I first had to use it. Son said he would come check on me in the night and I would have it in my hand, under my chin, on top of my head..anywhere but in my nose. And yet, that hose keeps me going and allows me to leave my home. It has become my friend. And it has made me value the ability to just go and do even more but it has also made me appreciate that I can still have quality life.

Independence is probably the most precious gift and yet most of us do not appreciate it until we have lost it. The ability to care for yourself, to cook for yourself, clean your home, dress yourself, shampoo your hair, etc…..are all gifts and then the day comes and that gift is gone. But, what my older than dirt wisdom has taught me is that when the gift is gone, a new one comes in its place. And in my situation, the new gift was in my son who wanted to care for me and who does the things for me that I can no longer do. And with this gift comes greater quality of life.

I have been sick since I was 32 and battled health issues and so I learned early what the gifts we are born with are and what it is like to lose them early. And as I traveled this road of chronic illness, I learned that with each turn could come the loss of a gift and right behind it could come a new replacement gift. And that replacement gift can bring us great comfort and joy as we continue to lose our health and our gifts of independence, eyesight, hearing, feeling, etc.

I see people who literally want to “appear” chronically ill but not enough to stop their lives or want to appear worse than they are and I wonder do they not realize that they are not just losing their gifts….they are throwing them away. One day they could truly be as sick as they want the world to think they are and then what will they do for they never learned to appreciate the gifts they were born with so they will not recognize the replacement gifts when they come.

I can not complain about my life or health because I have been blessed with both the original gifts and the replacement gifts and I continue to be blessed with them.  I see my life in terms of what I have and not in what I have lost.

March 29, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , ,

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