I often say that I may very well be the most blessed person on this earth. You see, I have allergies and I have never been one to really adjust my settings to accommodate them. My eyes are currently watering and I have a headache because, even as I type this, there is a dog in my lap. I am allergic to dogs, but he doesn’t mind.
Sneezing seems to be my body’s way of fighting off whatever it decides I am allergic to that day and I am quite known for my sneezing. It isn’t always especially loud. Though sometimes it is. It’s just that I sneeze often and each time I start, it takes me a while to stop. People like to count and, so far, my record is still seventeen. That record was set umpteen years ago when I was walking home from grade school. I do not know who was more annoyed that day: me, or the cars waiting. Sneeze that many times and you end up congested with a headache and a sore throat, but there is typically at least one stranger nearby who will bless me after each sneeze. Those closer to me wait until I am done, but I still get one blessing from them. And so, I have become the most blessed person in this world, I have no doubt.
Tales from a sneezer:
- I have stopped sermons. I will never forget the preacher announcing. “Hang on just a second. Let’s give Kim a chance to finish.” I was a teen. You don’t forget those kinds of things and the humiliation, but the congregation all blessed me that day.
- My sneezing also serves as friend finder. I will start sneezing in a store, and hear from other aisles, “That has to be Kim.” This also happens on conference calls in office settings. Someone will be on the phone and hear me in the background sneezing and say, “I didn’t know you worked by Kim. Tell her I said ‘bless you’”.
- My sneezing caught the attention of a group of nuns who were dining at the same restaurant once when my daughter was just an infant. They giggled and blessed me, of course, but then came to the table and asked if they could bless my child as well. We gladly agreed and explained that she had been dedicated to our little protestant church weeks before. We have always teased that she is now indeed doubly blessed.
- Sometimes blessings do indeed come from the most unlikely places, like the time I was walking with friends on Beale Street in Memphis. As the sneezing began, an Elvis impersonator passed and didn’t miss a beat in responding, “Bless ya, Baby.”
So, I thank God from whom all blessings flow. Maybe I stay congested and my head may hurt more than the average Joe, but I am never far from my next blessing and we thank the heavens for that.
The last six months have been the kind of months that will define who you are, who your friends are, and just how strong your faith is. It started with the normal life stressors. My baby girl started dating; he picks her up in his truck from our house and leaves with her. This does not feel right, do you hear me Mommas? A few months later she began driving on her OWN as in she now gets in her truck (yes, we are in the south and she has a truck) and she drives away all by herself and although it doesn’t exactly feel right, she can go to the store and run errands. So, it isn’t all bad. My baby boy started kindergarten and has picked this time to decide that he no longer likes public displays of affection. There will be no kissing his cheek before he gets out of the car in the morning. Do you hear me, mommas? That baby boy will not let me kiss his cheek! He is not quite six yet. Is this allowed? Fine, but I refuse to remove the teddy bears from his room. My primary business closed with ZERO notice and left me with enough inventory to fill my garage and the playroom, no way to sell it, while cheating me out of close to a $1k. Nice. Did I mention that it is seasonal merchandise? So what, right? These things are life. Get over it.
Cancer is a part of life too, unfortunately. So, it should’ve come as no surprise to me that just as the girl is starting to really become the typical teenager, the baby doesn’t need his mother’s kisses, and the dream business crashes, that cancer would enter our family. My husband’s thirty-eight-day admission into the hospital and leukemia diagnosis came just eighteen hours after my business went south.
But grace, sweet grace.
I would doubt that I was a very nice person the eighteen hours that it all came down. I would bet that no one will ever write a book about my faith during those hours. I would doubt that I was a very nice person the weeks that followed, but can I tell you how blessed I was? While I learned medical jargon, talked to doctors, specialists, nurses, and therapists, we received calls, visits, gifts, and messages from so many people AND do you know what every one of those people had in common? They told us, “Your family is in our prayers”. MINE? Shew, thank God. Cause we need it. I need it. Somewhere along the way, I lost count of how many prayer lists we were on. I have lost count of how many prayer lists we are still on. I no longer know the reach of our prayer chain. I do know that “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” And so we thank you for taking our names to the Lord. We have felt his presence with us.
He has been out of the hospital now for much longer than he was in. It’s been two weeks since he had a chemo treatment. We are on a break between cancer treatments and life resembles what it did six months ago with two people actively parenting under the same roof again. And even though he is not in remission yet, in some moments, it is easy to forget that he is still fighting the battle of leukemia. We can forget that briefly until we walk into public and we see the sympathetic eyes. “How are you doing?” “We have really been praying for your family.”
Thank you. Thank you to those who pray for my husband and thank you to those who pray for the family. This season has been a reminder that families are a blessing and we SHOULD pray for them, and not just when they have cancer. It is HARD out there. Doors slam. Things get said. We take one another for granted. Those babies think they are grown long before they are independent and while you love them, you don’t always like them. We all could use a little blessing and as you bless, don’t forget to pass the tissue.