Thursday, February 18, 2016

“Part of the journey in life is slipping and falling along the way; in these times true friends are the ones who pick you up and dust you off.” ― Ken Poirot

Over the past couple of months, I came close to dying (according to the doctors anyway), and I discovered how many people cared about me, and I have a new perspective on my relationship with God and what that means to the rest of my life.  People from all over the world donated funds to help with my medical bills (no insurance and the bills totaled almost $15,000).  Some, like the man yesterday, donated in Israeli Shekels, but there were Euros, British Pounds, Canadian Dollars, Danish Kroners, US Dollars, and Tanzanian Shillings.  Most of the people also wrote notes with the donation and today for the first time, I got a list of all the names with what they wrote, and I had to read them with a handkerchief in my hand as my eyes had too many tears to keep reading after the first one, and it continued that way.  Now the picture at the right might seem a little strange to accompany a blog, but just like the $36 the man gave that I wrote about yesterday, this is not just any bathroom shot, but a reminder of how loved I am.  My father used to say that if he ever got so bad he had to have help in the bathroom, he would rather die.  I know what he meant now.  There is little that is as demeaning, humiliating, or embarrassing as having to have others help you onto the toilet, help you up again, and then clean you.  I have always prided myself on doing things for myself, but there were so many times that I was so ashamed and humiliated that I was extremely depressed by this.  Even when it was my wife doing the helping, I still felt really badly that she had to do it—I was very thankful and learned how much she truly loved me.  Shaban knew how I felt, and while I was gone, did some research and found some guys who really knew what they were doing.  If you look closely at the base of the toilet, you will see that it has been built up some inches to raise the seat height.  Shaban had the room retiled (it was really bad), but most importantly, he had a new toilet installed.  What it meant to me was life changing.  He had found a way so that I could use the toilet by myself, needing no help to get back up (not even a nearby chair or stool) which was a first for the last two months, and needing no help at all with all that was needed for me to do.  It meant I was truly independent when it came to the bathroom and unless you have had to have help, you will not understand how good this made me feel.  Not having to call someone in the middle of the night, not having to undergo the shame of having to have help with something I did not even like to talk about.  Yes, I’m one of those who would run water so no one would even hear what was happening—old school, you know.  What blew me away was that Shaban knew how I felt and went out of his way to offer me a gift I could never ask for.  You can’t see them in the picture, but the window is filled with flowers growing outside and with the new tile just looks great.  It’s a symbol of what God will do for you if you will let Him.  He knows your needs and supplies the answers—even if they come in a strange form.  I smile every day.  I told Shaban not to take it the wrong way, but I thought of him every time I had to go.  I’ll be thanking as many as I can individually even if it takes months to do it, but I am so grateful to so many.  Going to the bathroom reminds me of my father every time, too.  Who knew what indoor plumbing could do for my self-image?  My heart is full of thanks for so many even with the wires and devices in it.  God has blessed me through you, and I know it.
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