During the seemingly never-ending string of surgeries and recovery time this year, my mind would wander to that all familiar question of doubt: Why me?
In the down times, I’d get out my phone and listen to a song by the Northern Irish band Rend Collective entitled “Counting Every Blessing.” This song would remind me of all the incredible blessings I was experiencing in the midst of the pain, frustration and suffering.
I realized that my “Why me?” questions could go one of two ways: I could focus on the negative or be grateful for what I had.
Why has everything gone so wrong? Why did a supposed 3-week hospital stay turn into four surgeries and 17 weeks in the hospital? Why do the prayers of hundreds of people go unheeded? Why me?
Why am I so fortunate? Why have I been surrounded with family friends that that support me physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially when others are not? Why me?
When I found myself muddling through the “woe is me” attitude, I tried (not always successfully) to focus on the flip side. I tried to count my blessings.
Although I hope to never experience anything like this again, I want to remember the incredible things I experienced throughout those weeks and months.
Counting the Blessings
The Support of Many
My mom was with me in Florida for weeks on end. Gayle and Ellen and my dad flew down at different times to support both my mom and me. Friends allowed my mom to stay at their condos at no cost. Others came down to keep me company, cheer me up and make me laugh. They prayed for me and gave me hope when I needed it most. Why me?
Provision and Friendship
As I prepared to return home after the third surgery, I knew I would need some help for several weeks. A friend was hosting a family for several months and suggested we meet. Monica and Anastasia blessed the socks off me during those two weeks. Cleaning. Cooking. Companionship. When I had to fly back to Florida, Anastasia was willing to join me. Why me?
From Facebook to Face to Face
Jennifer and I first “met” a year ago on a Facebook page for spinal cord injuries. Her husband, Edgar, had just been injured in Guatemala. They recently moved to Tampa and we got to meet in person.
On one occasion, Jen and Edgar stayed late into the night while they updated my friends and family via text on how my fourth surgery was going. They prayed with and for me. Became dear friends to me. And they brought cheesecake to me. Counting every blessing.
A Hero’s Visit
I can’t say I have many heroes in my life. But Felisa has always been one of them. We met in 2003 in Afghanistan. Intelligent. Courageous. Strong. I’ve always joked that she’s a real-life Sydney Bristow from the TV show Alias.
On August 29, 2015, Felisa suffered a severe stroke while she was in Afghanistan, leaving her severely aphasic and apraxic. (For a great overview of Felisa’s work and story, listen to her incredible journey here on NPR.)
Felisa, too, was in St. Pete at an intensive therapy program to help prepare her for defending her dissertation. We were able to catch up in person – and even video chatted with a dear friend of ours from Afghanistan. What a sweet reunion. Counting every blessing.
It’s a Choice
Yes, we can wallow in the depths of the whys in life. Or we can choose to see the blessings all around us. One is easier than the other. But choosing to see the blessings breathed hope back into my weary body and soul.
Choosing to see the positive didn’t – doesn’t – negate the suffering, but it allows me to see that God is still present in the midst of it.
QUESTION: What blessings have you discovered in the midst of a trying time? Comment below and share what you discovered.