What a week! Stephanie finally graduated! It was an incredibly exciting, horrifying, emotionally charged week. Ever since she missed her last shot in her last tennis match I have found myself experiencing a deep sadness. I suppose it was because I was concentrating on the "lasts". You know what I mean don't you? The last shot, the last class as a senior, the last time she will go to school as a senior, the last award ceremony. I could go on and on but I think you get the picture. However, I woke up this morning with a positive sense of the "firsts". Today is the first day for her to be a high school graduate, her first day to go and look for a job as a high school graduate, her first day to go and tell the insurance company that bumped another car at the last graduation party she visited!
Yet, through all the hugs, congratulations, tears, and laughs there was statement yesterday that made me stop in my mental tracks and truly experience the moment. It was when Christine and I were walking back to the van after the graduation ceremony. We were holding hands and I looked at her and tried to grasp the words that could adequately describe the deep love, pride, and admiration I had for her. I shared with her the fact that I thought we had done a good job of raising Steph and that today was a day of celebration for us as well. It was at that moment when she turned to me and said these words, "I am glad you made it to this day".
We sometimes forget the great blessings that we receive from God. I say sometimes when I really mean most of the time. I can, truthfully, say to you that throughout this whole week of festivities I never once gave thanks to God that He had decided to give me more time here on earth. Yet, when Christine said those words to me I was filled with a great sense of thanks to God. There was always a real sense that I might not make it to certain mile markers in the life of my family. Birthdays, Christmases, Graduations, and Marriages were never a given due to my surgeries...and they still aren't. We are never promised tomorrow and so we give thanks for today.
I do give thanks to God for allowing me to remain with my family. I give thanks for the opportunity to experience the celebrations of life. But most of all I give thanks to God for allowing me one more day with Christine. As proud as I am with Stephanie I am filled even more with a great sense of pride for my wife. She has endured my sufferings while dealing with her own. She has been the rock of the family during trying times. She has been my inspiration to recover and my motivation to remain that way. It was such a blessing and honor to be able to look her in the eyes and say"we did good"! We did it, not her, not me..but WE!
On my journey home I have spent way too much time looking at the "lasts" of life. I am ready to begin this day by looking forward to the "firsts". I think that is what God had in my mind when He allowed me to live. So I encourage all of you to look forward to the future and stop dwelling on the past. Look forward to the blessings that God has for and not the trials and tribulations that world provides.
Today is the first day of the rest of my life...I will enjoy it!
Until next time,