Everyone has good times and bad. That sounds trite, but we all know it’s true.
My bad times have seemed pretty bad to me at the time. Not all rosy in my childhood, not all easy in my divorce, dealing with sobriety, and the death of my child.
All difficult. But I’ve had so many good periods in life, but most of all, just normal periods.
And those I take for granted.
I’ve been whining about my eyes. I had cataracts removed and had Restore lenses put in so I won’t need glasses anymore. And my vision, which even with glasses hasn’t been 20/20 since forever, will be better and clearer. Let me be specific. The cataract surgery part is covered 100% by my insurance. The lenses are incredibly expensive. My husband and I discussed it at length and decided they were worth getting. And we can afford to pay for them.
While I have been going through this, which I’m adjusting to perfectly and my eyes should be totally healed in another 4 weeks, my brother had heart surgery. HEART SURGERY. A little more serious, don’t you think?
But here’s the clincher. Our church, in conjunction with four other churches in our area, runs a homeless shelter during the winter. The women and men who are in these desperate straits are given warm meals, a place to stay indoors overnight, an opportunity to shower and to wash their clothes.
I’m a part of this shelter, am on the committee and have signed up to provide dinner a few times over the winter.
Last night was my first time. But I had it on my calendar for next Saturday. So they waited for me and I didn’t go.
Luckily, the women in charge always stops by to make sure everything is running smoothly. Well, obviously it wasn’t last night because I didn’t show up. The lady in charge texted me and I said “Hi! How are you?” She told me they were waiting for me. Of course, I had no food ready, so they scrambled to get dinner for the shelter visitors.
I was so upset and appalled that I had the wrong date. I am the most Attention Deficit person you will have ever met (that is not an exaggeration) and one of the skills I have learned is to check everything a few times and to write important things down. I had checked, and I had written it down. For the wrong date. So hadn’t checked well, or often, enough.
Here is where the lack of humility comes in. These people are desperate. They could literally freeze to death. I can’t imagine what they have gone through in their lives. And I forgot their dinner.
People in my own small community are dying and I forgot about them.
And the biggest thing? I have been complaining to anyone who will listen about how I’m not getting a good night’s sleep because I have had to wear a plastic shield over my eyes to protect them when I sleep.
I haven’t lost limbs in accidents or war. I haven’t been born with a congenital problem that requires me to wear, and function with, life altering prosthetic devices. My husband and I are gainfully employed and have many choices in housing, don’t think twice about grocery shopping or clothes. We have the money to go on a vacation every year. Between us we have four healthy adult children.
All I did was complain about my eye surgery and the plastic shields to protect my soon-to-be-perfect eyes.
These events and realizations have humbled me. For now. Until life goes back to normal and I only give a fleeting thought to those in situations different from mine. For those about whom I should be thinking, praying and helping.
May I remember this lesson and carry it with me daily. May I not fall easily back into complacency.
It’s time for some humility.