A personal epiphany amid the trials and tribulation of life.
“But for the grace of God”…I uttered this while recuperating in convalescence thinking how blessed I am. But even in this state I think too, of how thankful we should be having been given the skill to write as we do. An epiphany is such that it cannot, or should not be ignored when intuitive perception is precipitated by a sense of reality. Although the gist of this essay was originally designed to be portrayed as first person singular, I don’t mind as you read this it morphs into pronouns depicting generics in the usage of the pronouns ‘we’ and ‘our’. More often than not, mannerisms find us negligent and habitual when we stray from the obedient nature of God’s will. I allude to this relative to how stubborn I was in ignoring signs of abnormalcy in certain aspects of going about my business in the world; of not being diligent enough to just be respectful any disciplined virtue for balance. Slaving to that 9 to 5, and writing to oblivion with no regard to how I should live right to do so. Thus, living high off the hog and ignoring health and temperance proved to be my undoing, and God pulled me on the carpet. High blood pressure, cholesterol issues and being borderline diabetic all were part of my angst. I refused to take my meds, stopped exercising and ate what I wanted to. In the meantime, I continued to do the things that interested me most: teaching at a frenetic pace, running to any literary conference that asked me to participate; accepting numerous speaking engagements; engaging in rigorous community projects and responsibilities; not to mention my duties as Deacon in my church. Something had to give. And guess what? God got my attention and boy did He! My wake up call was sudden and to the point!
As most already know, on November 8th of this year I suffered a slight stroke that left me partially paralyzed on my left side. All of the usual symptoms normally associated with this malady were there — a twisted face, complete numbness of same with joints rigored with gout and the inability to swallow, etc. I spent two agonizing weeks in the hospital. But it was the subsequent and ongoing time spent talking to Jesus that allows this story to have the depth and value to me, and hopefully to you too. As I share this, we learn by proclamation and identification by discovering who we are and to what extent we need to adhere to righteous living. I had to come to grips with what needed to be done for me to have some bearing on why He allowed me to be going through a stroke! I’ve always thought that the greatest burden one can have is not realizing your purpose in life, or worst, not doing what should be done to preserve the temple of the holy spirit — your body. Circumstance and fate are strange bedfellows, for when they meet it’s inevitable that changes would be the focus to look at the bigger picture, and what must be done to challenge them. But for the grace of God, how much thanks are we rendering for Him being the progenitor of our destiny? And would we truly understand it if He were to put us in predicaments when we least expect it like He did me? What does it take for God to get YOUR attention? He got mine. No matter what name you attribute it to, or how you look at it, there’s a difference between divine intervention and mere happenstance. For all you know, God may be positioning us for greater heights even in the face of adversity. Just to have a coterie of writers in one place here on the Writers Den is a joy onto itself, and shouldn’t be taken for granted. We have a resident moderator who is loved by us all and who is so willing to give as the Lord has taught her to. I’m privilege to be among you. I’m sure in some aspect to you all, the year 2009 has been as challenging to you as it has been for me. I’m sure too, that there are many of you who may feel that you could have found more time to write, or could have written better, even. Your individual issues may be different than that of the next person, but I’m sure you’ve felt the weight of adversity in some fashion or form that tended to take you out of character. Rare to find are those who have not been affected in some direct way by the recession that has plagued our country, and how even our President is struggling to right the wrongs of his predecessor. We all know what Bush did to allow us to be in this soup in the first place.
These indeed are trying times but we still should be able to cite a long list of things for which to be grateful…we more often than not find ourselves wallowing in self-pity and that ‘woe is me’ syndrome. We are masters at complaining about things that we don’t have as opposed to counting the blessings for what has been given to us. But as I recuperate from this stroke I can’t help but give thanks to the many people who have rallied behind me. As I’ve mentioned, this year has been trying and the challenges have been great. But the same God that had been good in the time of plenty has remained good in the lean times. Yes, there were days when Satan reared his ugly head and showed us how malevolent he is in church and away from it, where finances fell short and days when there was more malady than money. But as I begin this New Year, my resolutions will be no wise less than they have ever been as it pertain to sustained spirituality and evangelical efforts to do God’s work. Thus, I’ve been determined to be thankful in spite of. I’m a firm believer that we are most blessed when we can use heart-felt feelings to give and be thankful. If we can’t be grateful for what we have, or be mindful of how important to give Him the glory, how can God trust us with all the that He said would be ours if we would only heed ‘thus sayeth the Lord? So as I lay here and contemplate my fate I know that I have no choice but to keep my head to the sky. I will continue to give God the praise. Not only for what I have today, but for those things that I know that He will bless me with on all the subsequent times that I endeavor to tread in the right direction by going straight, turning right and looking up!
In closing, we are approaching a brand new year with brand new possibilities. We are fortunate to be where we are and where the gates of a bright world of opportunity would be ours to step into by rejoicing in our realms of reality. I’m one better, knowing that God gave me a second chance and a new lease on life. The prayerful conversations I had with true friends that called and came by to visit me will forever be etched in my soul to keep. Some wanted to provide sympathy, and wondered if I had enough hope to spare. Before I could continue they professed to tell me how concerned they were. “It could have been worse”, I would say, and went on to give God thanks and praise for what could have been. Maybe someone will look at this and would feel that it’s the perfect time to stop and say, “thank you Jesus”, not knowing when He could alter status quo for what we do best as authors. I’m ever so mindful that waiting on Him will help me to rise above this. The words of my favorite scripture in Isaiah 40: 29-31 will always sustain me, as I’m convinced that I will mount up with wings as eagles, where I will walk again, not be weary and not faint doing so. It’s all about stopping where you are in life and giving Him thanks for guiding your hand. I say thanks again from the bottom of my heart to you for your support! This year indeed will be ours for all prosperity and the propensity to prevail. Give thanks to Him that made you who you are and where you are at this point. Just keep the faith as I’m prone to do as we built together but for the grace of God!