I'm better, getting stronger, and improving each day. And I'm grateful. As the recent recipient of total knee arthroplasty, I am grateful for the skill and professionalism of surgeons. I am grateful for quality hospitals and their committed staff. I am grateful for the accumulated wisdom of medical science and those who have committed their lives for its advance. I am grateful for really good medicine. I am grateful for the provision of insurance and my access to it. "How am I doing?" My best answer is also the most precise. "I'm grateful."
A few years back, while serving with a medical and mission team in Haiti, I was given the assignment of helping match eye patients to the abundance of donated eyewear with the different strength lenses we had at our disposal. Despite the language barriers, it was a fairly easy assignment. But one older gentleman, I could not help. His milky iris was too far advanced for my box of what we commonly call "cheaters." He needed cataract surgery, a procedure too advanced for our walk-in clinic and rarely available to a person of his means. Early in my 40's, I had needed and had already been healed by this corrective surgery. Yet, this man before me was going to go blind. It's possible to experience anger and gratitude at the same time. I felt blessed. I felt guilty.
Over the years, I've carried the memory of this man with me. Like me, he too may have been blessed with a supportive community, a loving family and a vibrant foundation of faith. But I had options he never would. I pray, in time, he may have been helped by the state hospital or another mission group. His hardships will always contrast with my liberties. I still feel blessed. I still feel guilty.
Now recovering from an "elective" surgery that will improve the quality of my life, I consider those whose other medical treatments are more vital. I remember how wonderfully meaningful and helpful my support system through family, friends and the church. I thank each of you for your cards, notes, prayers and other means of care. I'm better and returning to work in measured steps. I'm looking forward to seeing you this coming Sunday. It will be good to worship again with you. And when you asked me how I am, I'll be quick to say, "I'm grateful."
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