After Linda's stroke, and the neighborhood fire, I felt exhausted. I went to bed early that night. I got up early the next morning and got the kids off to school. This happened to be an "off" day for me, and I had scheduled a day full of errands. I knew I'd be running around until time to pick up the kids late in the afternoon. But something strange happened to me during the course of my busy day. I kept getting text message updates from Linda's daughter. I realized my friend was not only paralyzed, unable to eat, and barely able to see or speak, but with blood clots still remaining in her brain, and a dissected carotid artery, Linda was also in a fight for her very life.
As I pulled back into the neighborhood, I drove past the burned house. Charred roofing, siding, and various belongings sat in a dirty black heap in the front yard. A blue tarp was making an attempt to keep the winter weather out of the upstairs bedrooms. A window was boarded up. Everything was empty and deserted. A far cry from the usual buzz of activity that normally surrounded this very busy house.
At that moment, something very strange came over me. Not sadness or anger, but a strong, strong feeling of gratitude. Thankfulness for the blessings I have; for my beautiful, healthy children, for my warm comfortable home, for my family and friends.
When I got into the house I sat quietly for a long while and prayed. I thanked God for everything He has given me, and I asked for blessings on the displaced neighbors and my dear Linda.
That was 8 days ago. The neighbors are split up and living with assorted family members, but they are all safe. I'm happy to report Linda appears to be doing well, and may be moving to rehab very soon. She will have at least a year's worth of physical therapy to look forward to, but even though her life will be forever changed, she has a very good chance of being able to walk again, and live an independent life. She may even be able to come back to work one day.
As for me....I believe something crossed over in me that day. I am signing up to walk in my first 5k, later in February. I want to take care of the healthy body I have. I will walk in honor of Linda, who cannot walk right now. I am inviting everyone I know to join me. Do it for yourself, and for the people you are thankful for.
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