Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Blessings

I guess sometimes we ("I") need to be reminded over and over what "blessings" are. Cars are nice, so are clothes, food, and shelter. Education is priceless. They are blessings and necessary. But we don't actually have to have the biggest, fanciest, priciest, or grandest of those to be "blessed." We still have value. We can live in this world quite nicely without being world travelers or having the latest technological gizmoes.

There are a lot of things we can live without. But we can't manage without people (or dogs, but that's another soapbox for another day). We can't manage without a support system.

People are our biggest and truest blessings. It's not that I'm forgetting God or leaving Him out on purpose but I write about His blessings a lot and people are among His finest!

God even has a way of taking things that are "curses," mixing people into the equation, and voila!, He's turned a sure-fired curse into something of a blessing that we wouldn't have without the curse! Only in God's Hands...

...can something as horrible, dreadful, and evil as melanoma become a vehicle of blessing. But it takes people to make it so. If it were not for melanoma, I wouldn't have met the most amazing people. If it weren't for melanoma I wouldn't hear their stories and be reminded that we ALL deal with something, no one has a "perfect" existence, and if they think they do then eventually something will clamp down and bite hard. Someone is always worse off than me. Someone always is at a more difficult part of battle than me and I can learn much from them on how to fight. We all have to learn to "suck it up" and move on because the alternative is even worse.

As I hear stories, I learn how God is using people as our support systems. How He uses them to encourage and help us pursue our dreams, dreams they wouldn't necessarily encourage us to pursue if melanoma wasn't part of our lives. How God opens doors and uses people as doorstops. How God involves people in our health, healing, wholeness, and miracles. How God uses people to give us hope and love, thereby increasing our faith.

I heard the most amazing story yesterday and told her she needed to write a book. Her response? "It's already in a book." She is one of our own in melaland. Here's a link to the book. Her story is actually the story of healing experienced by a cancer patient named Debbie. Real name, real story. What isn't told is that her cancer is melanoma on pages 61-63. However, on pages 94-97 she shares her own story and melanoma is named. Her story is the one that has been used by the Catholic Church to propel Father Nelson Baker towards Sainthood. He has already been elevated to "Blessed" in part because of her story. How awesome is that?! Because of melanoma. Because of melanoma her husband encouraged her to pursue a dream that is taking her places. Because of melanoma she is blessed and is a blessing. Who knows how long her healing will last? Who knows how long she'll be able to keep living her dreams?  Only God, and she'll tell you that. She'll also tell you that she's fine with that. God has and continues to richly provide and bless.

I've met so many others in cyberspace that are blessings. Blessings they probably wouldn't be if melanoma wasn't part of their life. Debbie is the first melapal I've actually met face-to-face. February 15th I plan to meet others. November 17th I plan to meet even more. They are living, breathing blessings. They have amazing support systems who are living, breathing blessings also.  A lot of what they do, how they are used by God, and the blessings they give the world are solely due to melanoma being part of their life that God has touched, redeemed and transformed.

As for me, melanoma has taken me out of my shell and God keeps peeling back layers of my personal onion. I'm not the same person I was when I woke up that early July 2008 morning. I'm not the same person I was when I woke up yesterday morning. Hallelujah and God willing I'm not the same person I'll be tomorrow when I wake up.

We all have something to live with that can easily be viewed as a "curse." We all have something we just have to suck up and move on and get past. We all have something that makes our life less than perfect. We all do. And we can all decide whether or not to be perfectly miserable and make others miserable. We have that option. Sadly, many take that road. Sadly, many don't have support systems that encourage them to still live and pursue their dreams, whatever they are.

We all, also, have a God Who will meet our needs if we but ask, seek, knock, persist, and believe. We have a God Who graces our lives with people who will walk with us and support us. He has people just waiting to be our blessings.

He also calls us to be blessings as we are blessed. Need a blessing?

Be the blessing you seek.

And be grateful you're here to do it. It isn't about you, after all. It isn't about me either.

It's about faith. It's about God.

It's about being grateful for the blessings we've been given and increasing the blessings others have.