Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What It Means to Be Blessed

"What does it mean to be blessed?" Emily asks, and I find it's easiest for me to answer in people: to tell stories about how they love us, how they show up to help, how--with gratitude--I empty some hands of gifts, fill others with burdens.

I can tell you about our friends' bringing dinner that Saturday before Jim's gastric bypass surgery, and I mean everything: chicken and veggies for the grill, nuggets and mac cheese for the kids, dessert, soda, and juice boxes. I can tell you how they listened to us, distracted us, made us laugh.

I can tell you about the friends who sat with me while Jim had surgery, how I wasn't for one moment alone from 6 AM until well after 1 PM, when my man and I were reunited. The surgeon said, at 11 AM, that Jim had done well, that I could see him in two hours. I hadn't been able to eat until that point; my friends joined me, for lunch.

I can tell you about my mom, who traveled eight hours and, for four days, made it possible for me to pour all my attention into Jim. And about my dad, who kept up with their East Tennessee farm for those four days plus the two she lost to the road. And about my ex-husband, who never squabbles over time and was happy for Cade to be here as long as we needed, helping with the sisters.

I can tell you about those who've mowed our lawn, brought meals for those of us who can eat regular food, taken away our garbage, sent cards, offered prayers. I can recount acts of love until I lay my head over and cry: so much love, and that's always how I see Him best.

A friend took me to dinner the week before Jim's surgery, and she asked how she could pray for me. I told her: just pray for Jim and my brother because, if they are well, I will be well, too. And Jim is so well! He's down thirty(!) pounds in less than two weeks; he's finally getting good rest as of the last 24 hours; his one, troublesome incision site seems better; and here's my favorite part: he's got this look in his eyes that I hadn't seen since we first reconnected, five years ago Easter.

I can't tell you how many times--over the past 5-plus years minus two weeks--I remembered that old look and wondered if he loved me the same. Now I know I had it all wrong; the look wasn't, and isn't, love. It's hope. And it transforms his face completely.

I am blessed just in watching.

**To read Emily's and others' reflections upon blessings click here, and feel free to join the conversation!

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