Then I had a couple of friends who lost a sister/sister in-law. She was only 53 and died of cancer. I'd met this woman a couple of times about 30 years ago, so didn't really know her. But still, this kind of death always hits close to home, for obvious reasons. And when it's a relative of a friend, it's too close.
Add to that a friend of my step-sisters passed away after a battle with bone cancer. He too was in his fifties and while I never knew him, the fact that I have a sister who's grieving his passing, grieves me.
I saw on Facebook that a friend of mine from my writing group is also going through chemotherapy. Add to that that there's three or four other people on my prayer list and well, it can get overwhelming.
But as these sorrowful and bad things come to the fore, I try and remain positive and forward looking. I have much to be thankful for and I keep those thoughts on top. Things like:
- My health. While I have aches and pains and a few skin conditions I'll spare you from, I am in pretty good health. As I passed a couple of people with canes today and heard of a couple of stroke victims on Facebook, I realize I am incredibly lucky and blessed with good health. Today, at least.
- My wife. Married 25+ years and still in love. We can laugh over the petty things we've picked on each other over the years and realize that the older we get, the better the laughter gets.
- My mother. She's almost 83 years old, but still healthy and kicking. I know many who have lost both parents, and I am fortunate that I can still call her when I want and see her when I'm home. She is super-involved and active with work/volunteering and that seems to keep her sharp.
- My church family and friends. I am surrounded by the most supportive group of friends that I have ever had. Tough to put a price on that. These folks make me laugh and would do anything for us.
- Freedom, a good job and secure living. 'Merica.
- Good kids. I can't explain how fun it is to have them as adults around my house now. They are taking on their own personalities and yet we all share our past. We laugh with/at each other, but it is all tightly shrouded in love and respect. They keep me sane and honest.
- And as of this post, in the last 24 hours I have made sandwiches for the Guest House guys with people from CollectiveMKE, had coffee and deep spiritual discussions with my Thursday Morning buddies, and served dinner to the guys at the Guest House this evening. If that isn't a pretty good 24 hour stretch, I don't know what is. Grateful to be able to serve when I can. Even more grateful for my wife who coordinates all of the opportunities.
Over 120 sandwiches for Guest House.
And so, when I look around and start adding up the good versus the bad, the good always wins. That doesn't mean there's not a place for sadness, it just keeps me from wallowing in it. If I tried, I could probably be a great depressed person. I try to stave off things that bring me down by dwelling in the good. It's not always easy, but it beats the other option.