Thankful- January 10, 2017
This Friday marks an anniversary I never asked for or could’ve imagined. On Friday it'll have been a year. On January 13, 2016 I was admitted to Tahoe forestry hospital sicker than I’ve ever been and far from a diagnosis. I remember that day and the days that would follow like a vivid picture painted with the brightest of colors. I remember lying on the couch that evening before making the drive to the ER, with a fever of 104+. In that moment I felt as if my life was slipping through my fingers, but somehow I couldn’t believe it. I wasn’t supposed to be this sick. I had always just assumed I would live a long life and accomplish all the things I wanted by working hard. In the moments that followed that dreary car ride in the snow and ice to the ER it was as if I was watching my life on TV and not actually living it. I was in shock. Shocked that this was my life and angry with the Lord for allowing me to suffer. It was like a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from. But how naïve was I. A year later I wouldn’t change that week, for the lessons and transformation I experienced would not have been possible. Looking back on that week, I've realized that sometimes suffering is necessary. Although in the moment it may not have made sense, I believe it served a very important purpose. You see if I didn't know sadness, I would never truly know joy. If I didn't walk through the valley how would I ever fully appreciate the mountain top.
It would not be until over a week later, after being transported to UCSF hospital, where I would begin to improve and receive treatment for a rare blood disorder that devastated my body. Thinking back to this week that turned into a terrible nightmare, I am overwhelmed with thankfulness. It brings tears to my eyes every time I think about how far I've come since that week and how the Lord has healed me. In those moments, when I was scared out of my mind and the future was so unknown and unpredictable, the Lord was there. Always waiting with me and comforting me. The blessings he bestowed on me, whether it was a sweet note from a friend, my loving family supporting me, or the amazing nurses and doctors who gave so much of themselves to help me. This experience reminded me of how truly blessed I am and how precious life is. It is truly a gift to live today and the next.
Today I am reminded of my most significant moment while in the hospital; a walk I took with my dad. At this point I was too weak to walk unassisted and could barely make one lap around the nurses’ station. For someone who loves to be active and move this was incredibly difficult and devastating. However, it is this physical low that motivates and moves me on every run or adventure I now embark on. With my dad supporting me we headed down the hallway from my room. On this day I remember walking to this big window with an amazing view. It was the city. With its high-rises and bustling people. The bay in the distance and the Golden Gate bridge not too far away. I could see the sun glistening off apartment windows and big, fluffy clouds dancing in the sky and in that moment, something in me shifted. I realized that some of these patients in rooms next to mine would never make it beyond this window. They would never walk on those streets or drive over the bridge or feel the warmth of the sun while sitting in the park by the water. In that moment I realized that if and when I got better I wanted to live each day like the gift that it is. I wanted to live with reckless abandoned. Life is the greatest gift that we have been given and I don’t want to take it lightly. With the beginning of a new year people make many different resolutions, whether its to lose weight or to finally get the promotion you’ve been working towards. Don't get me wrong I think those are all wonderful goals, but as I pondered over that week a year ago I realized what I really wanted to change in the new year was not a specific end goal or accomplishment, but rather my mindset and attitude. I want to live each day in incredible thankfulness. I want to appreciate each moment, each conversation, each time the sun hits my face when I step outside. All these blessings are gifts, not things that are guaranteed. I think it’s so important to be reminded that we are not guaranteed tomorrow or even the next hour. This year I want to remind myself each day of what a gift it is to be alive and treat everything that is thrown at me with that attitude. As I approach tomorrow, and the next day, I want to make it a point to tell those I love that I love them, to appreciate and use the talents the Lord has given me, to value relationships and bring glory to God through everything I do and am.
So I guess more than anything, I'm writing this because I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to forget where I’ve been and how it’s gotten me to where I am right now. I don’t want to forget how the Lord heals, restores, and loves me. I don’t want to forget the Aimee that was standing, oh so weakly, at that window almost a year ago. Because that Aimee is the Aimee I want to be; overwhelmed by thankfulness and overjoyed for what I get to experience beyond that window.