Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Be in good health!

"Thank you, thank you!" I said to God, driving back from an errand this morning. The women I met with have smoker's voices, rough, raw, coarse. Their skin has wrinkled and their lips have puckered from smoking. Sin is its own punishment, says my husband, and it looks true on these dear women's faces.

I'm transcribing the diaries of Alice Wood, missionary to South and Central America in the early 1900s. Alice suffered mental and physical anguish, yet she was determined to share Good News. She writes of fevers, nervous attacks, and migraines, among her other ailments. Typing out her journals brings her suffering into my office, where I sit with a cup of tea, good health, and warm shelter.

In contrast, our daughter-in-love Rebekah ran, cycled, and swam this weekend in a women's event. Her sister, who does similar competitions each year, persuaded R to join her in the fun. They successfully completed the race and beat their time goals to boot! We are really proud of both sisters. Their training efforts and health choices paid off! (However, we miss her smile in our family photo below, taken Sunday.)

My folks remain healthy in their late 70s, walking daily, eating well, and boosting food with supplements. Dad's become knowledgeable in vitamins, minerals, and alternative health therapies. Compared to their siblings and peers, my parents are energetic, able to work and play with vigor, and continue to thrive.

Seattle weather, which recently cooperated with dry ground or sunny skies, turned ugly and rainy yesterday. Our daughter Kirsten is visiting for a few weeks from sunny Austin. She came out of her room this morning barely able to move, handing her dog Zoe over so I could take the dogs to the groomer. Yesterday, Zoe got her vaccines and a vet exam so she can travel on the plane to Austin with K Thursday. Zoe must have been uncomfortable from the shots: she was restless in the night. That didn't help Kirsten rest after RA joint pains hit her during yesterday's rainstorm. (We're reminded every time a storm blows in why K can't live in Seattle. Even visits are debilitating and painful. Sincere thanks to each friend who remembers to pray for her!)

Thinking about all these circumstances, the struggling and the successful, I felt most grateful for health and strength to complete my daily tasks. I wiggled my toes, moved my spine around the driver's seat, and tapped my fingers on the steering wheel, singing along with hymns of gratitude on my playlist.

God reminded me of missionary and scientist Paul Brand's work with lepers. Instead of focusing on the horrors of the illness, Brand remained joy-filled because so much "was going right," even in leprous body systems. Humans are complex creatures, Brand maintained. His research showed that the most gravely ill body compensated internally to maintain its health and strength. When systems were overwhelmed, the body kept trying alternatives. "Miraculous!" Brand said. "Our bodies are the amazing work of God!"

Thank you, God, for every bit of well-being!" My heart soared, so glad to be healthy and living in a country where medical treatment is available. None of our privileges are deserved or earned. We could be destitute, mortally ill, or isolated. Some of us may have these things in our past, present, or future. Somehow, God's presence is always enough for the hours. "As your days, so shall your strength be," says scripture.

I am grateful for the mercy of this day, beginning with the rising of the sun. God is good. He is Enough and Abundance, in pleasure or pain.

I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chatted all the way;
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow,
And ne’er a word said she;
But, oh! The things I learned from her,
When sorrow walked with me.

by poet Robert Browning Hamilton

Read more:
*O LORD, You are my God. I will exalt You, I will praise Your name, for You have done wonderful things; your counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. Isaiah 25:1 NKJV

*I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2 NKJV

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