The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:22-24
I was reminded recently of how precarious life can be. Working on my laptop on a Wednesday morning, I was hit with a sudden episode of dizziness and nausea. After lying down for a bit and finding I was no better, Carrie contacted her brother Paul, an MD, who encouraged me to visit an urgent care unit. “Better safe than sorry.” After an initial evaluation, a doctor ordered a brain MRI, later followed by a CAT scan. It gets your attention when the tech says, “So you’re here for a STAT brain MRI,” which means you go to the front of the line! While I’m not given to worrying too much before I have all the facts, I had a fleeting thought: “Could this be the beginning of the end for me?”
As it turns out, I was dehydrated after several days of hiking at Glacier National Park, which impacted the balance center of my brain, causing dizziness and nausea. I was most relieved to hear that my MRI revealed a normally healthy brain. And with that, I was on my way!
I know that many have not been so fortunate as to receive good news as I did. Many have begun a difficult health journey during a diagnostic consultation in a doctor’s office. For some, that consultation was the beginning of the end. Suffice it to say, I realize my diagnosis could have played out very differently!
This experience has provided me with a fresh opportunity to reflect on the gift of life. While we would be unwise to presume that we or those we love would never face health challenges, the other side is that we can receive each day of life as a gift. Every day we’re able to “rise and shine” is an opportunity to be grateful. Each day that I can enjoy a sunrise walk, savor my morning coffee, spend time with Carrie, pursue my life’s work and calling, connect with friends and family, bless a fellow human being, learn something new or be reminded of timeless wisdom, hear beloved music, savor a tasty meal, or give praise to my Creator and Redeemer, I’m deeply thankful. The biblical version of this is, “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
I anticipate that someday, I’ll sit in a doctor’s office for a consultation and the news will be bad, perhaps even dire. When that day comes, I pray I can receive that news with equanimity, remembering that I’ve enjoyed many good years in this life. In the meantime, may each of us receive the gift of today, as long as the gift endures.