Friday, July 1, 2011

Silver Linings

Can it get any better than this?  It’s Friday morning.  The sun is shining.  My kids are happy and healthy and off to a good day at their Mimi’s.  I have already gotten my inspection sticker, thanks to the reminder of my super thoughtful (and gorgeous) fiance’.  I am meeting one of my two dear friends for lunch today and even more dear friends for cocktails after work at Kona Grill.  My (gorgeous) fiance’ is meeting me at Perkins Rowe for a movie later tonight. Tomorrow I am attending a pool party given by my life-long best friend from the 5th grade!  Sunny Belle is doing better than expected.  Orders are lined up!  I feel fantastic.  Best of all, MOST importantly, I am having a great hair day!  So my life is perfect, right?
WRONG.  You wouldn’t know that this has actually been kind of a rough month for me.  Well, a rough two months.  Aw, hell we may as well back it up to February.  In February, I lost my beloved godfather who was a mere 70 years young.  What was heartbreaking was that I was unable to make it to Chicago on such short notice, where his funeral was held (but what other notice could he give, right?  Bless his heart).  He had planned a trip here with his wife in April, but alas, that was not to be.
In May, my uncle passed away after a brief but fierce battle with cancer.  Will we ever find a way to stop that sick thief in its tracks?  Again, a sad time for my family, but especially for my mother, who had already unwillingly handed one sibling over to that unstoppable disease in 1993.
On June 7, one of my precious girlfriends and coworkers was shot and killed in the line of duty during a routine inspection of papers through her work at the Department of Insurance.  She was only 44.  Her coworker, also incredibly young, was killed in that same tragedy.  I think you all know how unnecessary it is to try to describe the tragic sense of loss everyone felt.
And as if June couldn’t get any worse, my beloved dog, friend and companion of 12 and a half years, passed away on June 25, from what I can only describe as old age.  You know -- the minor problems that accumulate and once put together become too much for an old dog to handle.  I really do not think I was ever prepared for how badly the loss of my precious Sadie Mae would affect me.  And by the way, the “Preparation H under the eyes” thing really does work for puffy post-cry bags under the eyes.
“So, why are you being such a buzz-kill Ms. Sunny Belle?” you might ask.  Because if I had not made a choice, a long time ago, to look to the bright side of things and refuse to let negativity bring me down, I would not be able to appreciate life with the exuberance just expressed in my first paragraph.  I have come to understand – even though the journey is still often admittedly painful - that God has a way of working His plan, even if we do not understand it.  We have to look for the silver linings in our life as proof of God’s mercy and kindness.
First example – My godfather passed away.  I am still so sad over his loss, but I have to look at the silver lining in the fact that he passed away during a jovial dinner out with his beloved wife and dear friends.  I mean, really?  Is there a better way to go?  Okay, well maybe in my sleep.  But anyway, I’m focusing on silver linings here.  Also, even though it is through Facebook, I have not only forged a slightly closer relationship with his wife, but was reunited (even if only cyberly) with two of his children, with whom I had not been in contact in years!  How wonderful!
I understand my uncle James died during the night.  Not to say that the cancer wasn’t painful, but I thank God that my uncle had pain killers and that his misery was not prolonged. I am thankful he had a fairly long life with family and friends that loved him very dearly and that he had a sense of humor that will be remembered for a lifetime.   I am proud that during his years on this earth, he served his country well in the Navy.  I am simply thankful that the good Lord didn’t let it rain on the day we laid him to rest.
My sweet girlfriend and coworker died way too young.  We all agree to that.  She met the love of her life and married him four years before she died.  Do I curse the heavens for taking her so soon, just when she was finally getting her life the way she wanted it?  Or do I get on my knees and thank God that he allowed her four precious years with this fantastic man who could not possibly love her more, before He decided to take her home.  I opt for the latter.  She couldn’t have ended her life on a higher note.
As I write this blog, it has only been six days since my Sadie passed away.  But as the clouds lift, I look back on all the things that surround that fateful day that I now know NOT to be mere coincidences, but God’s grace.  Sadie was found lying in a peaceful position in the grassy ditch behind my home.  I say grassy because I don’t want it to sound like she was in sewage or something.  It was shallow, dry, dotted with lots of long grassy patches, etc.  The partial shade may have drawn her there, but for whatever reason, she was there out of view from everyone.  It was God who spoke to me suddenly and told me to go look for her there.  Seriously.  I found her… not a neighbor… not a stranger… but her “momma”, just as God planned it.  The kids were not there to find her… they were with their father… just as God planned it.  On a final note, as luck would have it, I walked out on my patio this morning with my cup of coffee only to discover that in the wee hours of the morning, the city must have decided to bush-hog the incredibly overgrown ditch and it was as clean as a whistle.  I shuddered at the thought of what might have been, had the city accomplished this chore six days earlier, or if Sadie had died in that ditch, camouflaged by the grass, six days later.  But it didn’t work that way.  THANK. YOU. GOD.  He planned it His way for many reasons.  This gives me extreme comfort.
Your happiness, your attitude, your disposition and the way you affect others COMPLETELY depends not on others, nor your circumstances, but on YOU and on what you choose to dwell. 
No matter what each day brings me, I am still blessed, I still have so much for which to be grateful and I am still humbled by His goodness.  So no, my life isn’t perfect.  It’s not supposed to be.  But it’s exactly what He has planned for me.  Follow His will.   Count your blessings. And most importantly, always look for the silver linings that He has left for you to find!

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