Thursday, February 17, 2005

There But For The Grace of God.....

As I went about my day today, visiting patients in the hospital, talking on the phone with a crying client, sitting in a patient's home as we discussed her recent hospitalization and current treatment for complications related to advanced AIDS, I was struck by the relative blessing of my own physical health. With comparatively minor problems of low back pain, depression, high cholesterol, a hiatal hernia and acid reflux disease, I am healthy and in no way compromised in my ability to live life and pursue my dreams. Having spent no more than seven days of my life in a hospital over the last forty years, I'm blessed with relative health, intelligence, priviledge, and assets of many kinds. I may feel sorry for myself from time to time, cry into my beer and pray for a change of lifestyle and scenery, but I can count myself among the many who are not enslaved to the care of a chronically diseased and debilitated body which seems to betray one at every turn.

There are many times in my day when I can say, "There but for the grace of God go I", and today was yet another of those times when that phrase can save me from further morose and self-indulgent rumination. Once again, I am reminded of the blessings I hold in the palm of my hand, the ways in which I self-indulgently revel in my sorrows, and how I can choose to see my half-full glass as actually overflowing with abundance. It is a daily choice---in fact, it is a moment by moment choice---to embrace what one is given and see it as truly enough. "There but for the grace of God go I" is a reminder that life can turn on a dime, and one must seize what one has in the present, since the most fleeting of blessings can be lost in a flash, without warning. Self-indulgence is a choice, and one is well-served to allow its visits to be short and few and far between.

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