Counting Blessings and Reflecting on Valued Friends

God has a funny way of making people realize what’s most important!

Over the last few days, I have been so consumed with Christmas gifts, work, wrapping, cleaning and furnace repairs – I found myself getting stressed, trying to figure out how I was going to pull off so many items on my To-Do List, that I lost track of what is most important in life, around me.

A couple of weeks ago, I received message from a dear friend, letting me know that a mutual friend was battling advanced stage cancer. I reflected on memories and felt bad for a bit, but as normal humans do, we tend to forget when demands consume our thoughts and time. I am ashamed of that!

Again, last night, I got another message that our friend was now in hospice care and that time was very limited. I realized I have another dear friend who works at that very hospice. I have been able to write a note that she will read to him for me. Before it’s too late, I want him to know just how important he is to me and how I much I have appreciated him, all this time.

Instead of allowing demands to consume my thoughts, I want to take the time to reflect, record and share just how very special and instrumental this person, and a handful of others have been in my life.

When my boys were toddlers, there dad liked to go to the bars, a lot. When I had finally had enough of sitting at home, waiting and wondering, I insisted that I go to the bar with him one night.

While we were sitting at the bar, the owner looked across the bar and made a comment about me not being the brunette he was with the week before. I thought he was joking and blew it off. At one point, I had gotten up to walk to the bathroom, and while walking by the owner, he stopped me and asked what it would take to get me to leave that guy. I told him I would need a good job to be able to take care of my kids. He grabbed my arm and asked when I could start.

The next weekend, I would walk into that bar as an employee. Keep in mind, this was a bar that was described as needing a gun and knife check at the door.

Being the painfully shy person I was, I was terrified! That didn’t last though. The regular customers of that bar embraced me as one of their own. It wasn’t just about drinking and having a good time – it was the coming together of a chosen family!

Over the next two years, I learned to love my job. I found strength, confidence and a voice – unlike anything I had ever known. Little did I know, just how much I would need that voice over the coming years! But God knew!

Every weekend, Ben would call me to the kitchen at closing time – he wanted to see me count out my tips. If he didn’t feel that I had made enough to support myself and my kids, he made up the difference from his own pocket.

In those two years, I was able to spend so much time focusing on raising my boys, being there when they needed me and because of their early bedtimes and my working on weekends only – they only knew me to be away from them 4 to 6 hours a week.

When my husband left, he took the car – I didn’t mind because he took the car payment too. One of my customers found a GMC Jimmy that had been owned by an older couple – it was a great vehicle for my kids and me. It served it’s purpose, well. Still, as with any vehicle, there were problems that would occur. During those times, when my Jimmy needed repairs, one of my regular customers would do the work to ensure my boys and I were in a safe vehicle at all times. All I ever had to pay was parts. Labor was given through the kindness and act of love from a dear friend.

In the years since, I would pass Robbie’s house now and then – and every time, I would remember how valuable and instrumental he was in the person I had grown to be and the life I was able to provide my boys.

The older I get, the more I realize just how blessed I have been to have real, genuine, caring people around me. Even though years pass and communication grows, all but non-existent, I still think of my chosen family with the fondest of memories and a heart full of love.

When I was little, my grandpa used to tell me that any one person can count the number of real friends they have on one hand. As an adult, if my grandpa were still around, I would have to argue that point with him.

My life has been SO full of great people!

Right now, especially here at Christmas, even with all the gifts under the tree and the hurried life I live, God has a way of teaching me what’s really important.

I am so blessed with good health for both me and my family. All four of our kids are grown and have wonderful jobs. They are all self sufficient and are leading lives that any parent would be proud of.

I am blessed with amazing jobs where, even though I am virtually based, I am still surrounded by amazing people with BIG hearts.

Robbie is struggling, battling cancer. If he is still the person I grew to know and love, I am sure he’s fighting it in true hero form. My heart aches for his daughter – because she has witnessed the struggle, on a daily basis. I hope and pray that she can find peace and strength in knowing that her daddy has touched many lives – in our small rural area.

My greatest wish this Christmas is that she will see one more Christmas with her daddy and that he will be blessed with the strength to enjoy the holiday with her.

If we don’t stop to count our blessings and realize how fortunate we are, God has a way of teaching us – one way or another.

About Gayla

Leave A Comment...