As many of you know, my Dad suffered a stroke more than three and a half years ago. At the time of his stroke, they said, “There’s nothing medically we can do for him right now. We’ll have to wait and see what God does.” After those words from the hospital’s top Neurologist, I remember walking into the bathroom and locking the door just so that I could be alone with my thoughts. I remember thinking, “There’s nothing medically they can do for him… We’ll have to wait and see what God does. Is this it? Is he done? Or, is God just beginning? Yes, God is at work here. Trust in him.”
I came out of the bathroom like an NFL athlete comes out of the huddle- ready, assured and completely focused. “God is on this,” I would say to myself over and over again and out loud to my family, too. And, it wasn’t because I thought saying those words had power, I knew The One hearing those words did.
After months and months of being in the hospital and two rehabs, my Dad is back home on the range enjoying life. Every single moment with him is literally a “gift from God.” And, the other gift from God was how He increased our faith as a family (and everyone involved from friends to medical professionals). You cannot watch miracle after miracle unfold and not know who orchestrated them.
Just weeks ago, I went back to my hometown to pay my respects to my childhood bestie’s beloved grandmother who passed. My Mom needed to do the same, so we worked out a plan where we could both go and Jimmy would be well cared for. While he’s home and enjoying life, he does require 24/7 care. So, I drove down to my parents home, and my Mom headed to town while I spent some time with my Dad.
During that time, we ate dinner and dessert (of course), strolled around the house, and soaked up a little evening sun on the back patio with a primo view of the cattle passing by. But, as my Dad watched the cattle, I watched him. Few words were spoken. We sat quietly under a forty plus year old fruitless mulberry tree. The sun was going down, the cows were moving slowly but surely across the pasture, the wind chime was making a beautiful noise and, though hot as can be, a soft breeze would blow through every few minutes, making the Texas heat somewhat bearable.
It was a precious moment, but here’s what made it that way mostly. My Dad looks at the world through a different lens after his stoke. It’s with curiosity and surprise. Everything is old and somewhat new. I found myself watching him watching things- the cattle, the sky, the tree, the chime, the bee buzzing by. And, it was with absolute wonderment- those bright blue eyes wide and a half smile on his face. He was and continues to revel in the life he was given a second chance on.
At times, we’re filled with wonderment, too. But, for most of us, it’s fleeting. Instead of taking the time to really see things and soak them up, we’re focused on the next task that has to be done. And, while taking care of those tasks is necessary for our survival, seeing things through the same lens as my Dad is necessary for living.
We’re given 86,400 seconds in a day. Which means there are potentially that many gifts every twenty-four hours, if not more. But, the choice is really ours… Do we see the need to change the coffee filter, or do we savor that cup of hot coffee? Do we feel pushed out of bed by the rising of the sun, or do we take a moment to soak it in? Or, do we take for granted this very breath we’re breathing? I think I’ll choose to breathe in deeply, ever so aware of the life that very breath gives.