08 November, 2012

Counting My Blessings Today

This morning I was quite surprised to find a message from someone I once knew, long before he became a success.  I asked him if I could share a bit of our conversation, and he agreed. I won't give his name or anything that would indicate who he is, that would just be wrong. This is someone I knew when we were both young struggling kids in college who has gone on to be a celebrity with fame and fortune. Honestly, I had not spoken to him for more than 20 years, and to be truthful, I was quite surprised he even remembered my name. But this morning, I had an email asking how I was doing and and shared some things about his life. To my surprise, he told me he reads my blog pretty regularly. He said that last night he was having a particularly stressed out and sleepless night and that he had spent a lot of time going back reading some of my blog posts from over the years and had been looking at pictures of me and my family on Facebook. Then he said something that stunned me. He told me that he admired me and the life I have. He went on to say that he always dreamed of "making it" and now that as he looks back, he's not so sure he chose the right path. Like most of us, he always thought money and fame would bring happiness, but said that he's never felt so alone and empty in all of his life. 

I won't go into any more of the personal stuff, other than to say that our conversation this morning has caused me to give pause and realize just how blessed I am in this life. I'll be honest, there are times over the years I've looked at his life and thought how awesome it must be, and wondered what it would be like and if I had made the right choice all those years ago. After this conversation, I don't think I'll ever ask that question again. I'm more thankful than ever for the life God has given me. I'm so thankful for my family, my church and my friends. Yes indeed, sometimes it is a struggle, and to be honest, it's been a very tough year for us, and I've really wondered at times had I chosen the right path and made the right decision over the past couple of years.  But my old friend gave me a glimpse this morning that more money and fame is just not the answer. Bigger is not always better. More is not always what it is cracked up to be. In our conversation, I began to see that his life is filled with the same complexities and problems... his just has more zeroes behind the numbers, and his life is in the spot light for everyone to see and criticize. To use his words, "everything in my life is magnified and amplified so that everyone sees and hears every flaw and sour note."  There have been times that as a pastor, I've felt that way, because people take cruel shots at us pastors and our families... but at least our lives are not in the tabloids and gossip columns. I never really thought of it that way before. Like I said, this morning, I'm realizing my blessings more than ever.  Suddenly this morning I'm seeing things in a different light. I've complained about it before, but today I'm grateful that my wife wakes me with her hair brushing against my face as she kisses me goodbye before she leaves for work. I'm actually grateful for a son that I have to wake up early and make him take out the trash that he neglected to do last night. I'm grateful for all the extra stuff cluttering our house right now while my daughter is home with us for a few weeks. What seemed to be an extreme source of frustration yesterday, today serves to remind me that Libby and I are two of the most blessed people on this earth because we are together, we are happy and healthy and we have kids that love and serve the Lord. Yes, we face trials, struggles and problems in this life... but we are blessed!

Thank you my friend for reminding me to keep things in perspective. 

Now to those who read this blog... I would say to you this morning, examine your circumstances through the eyes of others. What you think is so bad just might be a dream to someone else. Count your blessings today and everyday. Don't judge your life by how many marbles you have or don't have. More marbles just means a heavier load to carry.

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