Sunday, November 5, 2017

Coming to My Senses With the Eyes of Gratitude

At church today, we sang the lovely, old hymn, For the Beauty of the Earth. The second stanza includes the phrase, "For the joy of ear and eye." As we sang those lyrics, I thought of how blessed I am to have the ability to enjoy my life through my senses. 

Last summer, an insect stung my left temple near my eye. While it hurt and a bump quickly formed, it wasn't until the next morning that I really knew the extent of the sting's impact. I awoke to my eye being swollen and discolored and the upper and lower lids precariously close to being completely shut. The swelling had affected my peripheral vision, so I didn't want to risk driving. My husband took me to the various stops that had been on my to-do list that day, including a media interview where, thankfully, I was on the radio and not television.

My eye healed quickly with the help of compresses and antihistamines. The experience, however, left its impact as I contemplated just how precious my eyesight is to me. I take daily walks during the three temperate seasons. Much of the enjoyment of my walk is taking in the sights of nature around me. I enjoy watching the nuances of the changing seasons, from the eruption of early spring wildflowers to the brilliant autumn color. What would I do if I couldn't enjoy that experience because my eyesight had been taken away from me?

Then, a few weeks later, I heard our pastor tell of a woman who lived long ago and who became blind at age eight. Rather than considering her lack of eyesight a detriment, disaster or disability, she found blessing in it and she didn't let it rob her of opportunities to write hymns, give speeches and accomplish much in the 95 years she would eventually live. 

Hearing that story made me come to my senses, so to speak. I was reminded that everything -- even the difficult things -- in our life can be blessings if we choose to see them that way.

Now, as I express among my blessings my gratitude for being able to see, I also am thankful for being able to hear, for my senses of taste and smell, and for my ability to touch, feel and give voice to those blessings.

As we enter into that time of the year when we express our gratitude and love for those around us and bestow them with gifts, I want to remember to be grateful for the everyday things I likely take for granted, such as being able to see, hear, taste, smell and touch. And I will strive to find ways to use the miraculous blessings of my five senses to the best of my ability.