Everything’s Not Always Roses

21 05 2012

I was recently accused of something that I should take as a Imagecompliment, and for the most part do.  But I also have some underlying feelings that recant that statement as not always being the case.  “Miller, you’re always happy, singing, whistling, acting goofy (Act?) Every day it’s the same thing with you, nobody can be that happy all the time!”  My friend, though a little on the dramatic side, is right, no one person can be up and chipper constantly, totally impossible.  But I do make a conscious effort to start every day on the right note by not leaving the house or associate with others unless I have a positive word or attitude to pass on.  It’s not always easy, especially if I didn’t get much sleep the night before and I wake up running late for work.  Then needing to get out the door, I can’t find my car keys, my wallet, my left shoe.  Yeah, those are the things that can set you on edge in hurry.  But I’m determined that little irritants like those will not create the tempo of my day.  That’s life, things happen and there’s nothing you can do about it, so get over it, push on and enjoy the day God has created for you, no matter what comes! I guess that’s pretty easy to say when you’re reflecting on small trials and tribulations, but what about when the situation is not a small matter, but devastating, possibly life changing; what do you do then?  

It is my belief that, during my youthful days, when I didn’t learn to handle the small things in the right manner, they became the catalyst to the depression I suffered years later when a major setback occurred in my life.  How long did it last?  Seven years.

As a child, life was not always easy, few reading and comprehension skills until about age 12,  a feeling of being different and insufficient from everybody else, plus, living with a great-uncle who was both physically and emotionally abusive didn’t help much either.  My two main sources for comfort and understanding back then were my mother and my Great-Aunt Pearl.  I loved my mother dearly, but she had issues of her own so Pearl became my very 1st hero.  She was always there with the right words or attitude to get me over whatever hurdle I was facing at that time.  I could be upset and have my nose twisted out of shape over something, but good old Pearl would be there to help me over it, most of the time with a kind word, but sometimes with sternness.  Kinda like the old saying of hitting a stubborn mule between the eyes to get his attention; sometimes that’s what it would take when dealing with this obstinate one.  Yes sir, no matter what was going on in my life, no matter the highs, the lows; I knew I could count on this dear lady to be there for me in my corner, nary a thought that it would ever be any different; until a telephone call came, Feb. 2, 1984.  “Johnny, there’s been an accident and Pearl is in the hospital; it doesn’t look good, you need to come.”  A 2-hour drive to Ohio (which generally takes 3) to pick up my mother and then down the highway at about 90 mph.  I think God knew I needed to be slowed down and get some rest somewhere.  It was in Akron, Ohio the serpentine belt broke and couldn’t get another till morning.  I laid in bed at the hotel thinking how just the night before we were talking on the phone, making plans to come visit so she could see my newest son.  When I woke the next day my mind was trying to convince me it was all a bad dream, everything would be okay; but it wasn’t.  We arrived in Bluefield, West Virginia and went straight to the hospital.  One hour later the greatest hero of my life was gone. 

For the next seven years life was lived in a fog and a dismal one at that.  It seemed what ever I attempted came to ruin.  I had a series of ventures that led to lawsuits and near bankruptcy; finances became so minimal at times that we nearly lost our home on more than one occasion.  The closest person to a father figure to me, Cathy’s dad, passed away from cancer during this time and finally during a road trip I nearly lost the four people most important to me (Cathy and the kids) when I ran through a stop sign and (you ready for this?) hit a “drunk” driver.  (Try to accomplish that will ya!)   I went on and did all the motions that emulate a life that was under control, but it was just an act.  No one (and that included God) could possibly understand what I was going through was my thinking and a life of any happiness could only be sparse at best; this is how it is and nothing was going to change that.  Ever heard those words coming out of your own mouth?  Let’s turn a page shall we?

Waiting for the Lord in a season of darkness should not be a time of inactivity. We should do what we can.  And “doing” is often God’s appointed remedy for despair.  John Piper

He took me by both shoulders, looked me in eyes intently and said, “You take those precious memories you have of your Pearl and hold them close and dearly, for those are the treasure she left you, an inheritance of joy, smiles, laughter and love.  Don’t squander them in pity for that’s not why she blessed you with them.  If she could see you now she wouldn’t want to see you in this state.  She’d want you to honor her memory by passing that gift to others, that’s what she’d want to see in you, that’s what would tell her if she touched your life in a good way not bad.”  Who was this person that said those things to me?  Well, that’s for another story sometime, perhaps.  But this was someone like me and many others that had lost someone dear to him.  He tells how he had his season of grieving, like anyone would, but then got busy to the business of being a cheer, an inspiration to others.  Several months after he lost the love of his life, a person asked him how he could be such a happy soul.  His answer, “How could I not be?!!  For 35 years God blessed me by having me share my life with the most incredible person in the world. How could I not laugh and smile when I remember her, I am such a blessed man!!!”  How can you argue with that outlook?

I will never pretend I have all the answers to everybody’s problems, all I try to do is pass on what I’ve learned.  Its then up to each person to decide what they want to do with what I have to offer, and that’s okay.  But these things I believe with all my heart, no one who loves you ever wants to see you in pain and sorrow, that wouldn’t be love.  The ones who have touched your life truly leave you an inheritance, a treasure; take it, share it with the world to let them know just how special that someone was and how blessed you are to have had them in you life.  You know God (now you know I was going to get around to this!) loves you the same way, but even more and He wants the best for you.  I’m not talking worldly, fragile things that don’t last, I’m talking an everlasting love that brings a smile to my face when I think and read about it, just like that special lady who touched my life.  God loves you and wants the best for you. “Please,” read Philippians 4:4-7 and John 3:16 and then try to tell me He doesn’t care for you.

I used to see the loss of my Pearl as a deep scar on my existence.  Now I see her as what she was meant to be, a blessing, a smile, a hug and an encouraging word when I needed one.  Oh what a great inheritance she’s left the Gray One.  Do I honor her memory by being a legacy of who she was?  I don’t know, but I thank God for each day I have to give it a try!

Hey, I gotta tell you sometime how Pearl placed herself between me and a copperhead snake to protect me; only to realize the dang thing was already dead!  We laughed for an hour after that!  Oh my, I am so blessed!


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