Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Birthday Blessing

I have led a blessed life!  It has been a life full of its troubles not unlike anyone else's life.  But it has had its great blessings as well.  I have had the opportunity to meet and work with some very interesting people whom society considers to be important.  I have had the opportunity to travel to fascinating places and experience historical events where they actually took place.  I have worked in many different areas.  I have seen many things and have been blessed with an education that has opened up the world of learning to me that still happens to this very day.  But above all, I have been particularly blessed by one woman of extraordinary character:  my wife.

Joan is the strongest person I know in so many ways.  We have seen each other through some very harrowing times, growing stronger because of them.  The most momentous of these was the battle against breast cancer which threatened her life.  It was "our" disease and there wasn't a moment throughout the journey that we were ever without each other.

We have witnessed the advent of grandchildren in our lives.  These little gems have brought a joy that only a grandparent can know.  These powerhouses of life and love light up tired eyes and weary hearts in ways that are beyond the ability of any author to fully capture.  Grandchildren remind you that there is hope in the world, accompanied by smiles and laughter just because you have come to see them.

Companionship is but one element of my relationship with Joan that I cherish.  She has always encouraged me to go and do what my heart desires even though it may mean that she has to sacrifice things in order for this to happen.  She has encouraged my writing, my continuing education, and my evolution as a human being ins such a selfless way, that I am sometimes overwhelmed.  She puts up with my shortcomings and understands me in ways that others cannot possibly even fathom.

She has taught me the meaning of courage.  Through the battle with cancer, as the toxic medications employed to combat this dread disease coursed through her veins, she never uttered a word of discouragement or hopelessness.  Through the grueling thirty-six rounds of intense radiation therapy, as her skin burned to a point where it literally peeled away from her body exposing raw tissue below, she never once complained about the unbelievable pain, even though she had every right to do so.  We experienced a miracle of unknown proportions when we learned that the tumor and all its remnants had died.  And this summer, we humbly thanked God for her sixth year without cancer.  Joan is just as courageous as the soldier going into battle.

There are so many other things that I could tell you about her, but the one final thing I'll mention, is the fact that she is the love of my life.  Yes, we have our troubles, just like any other couple might have.  Yes, there have been times when the both of us must have wondered what we got ourselves into.  But there has never been a doubt in my mind that my love for her is undying and continues to grow day by day.

Joan is a remarkable woman,  She is my companion and I look forward to sharing many more years with her as we slip into the older time of life.  She is my support, encouraging me to become the best person I possibly could become.  Most of all, however, she is my friend through thick and thin.

Yes, God has blessed me greatly all these years and as I turn 58 I realize that the greatest blessing bestowed upon me has been at my side for many wonderful years.  I can't remember a time without her.  May we never take each other for granted and continue to see in each other the blessing that God has made each of us to one another.

I am blessed this birthday to have the greatest gift of all, the unconditional love of my wonderful Joan!