Thursday, May 20, 2004

2 Timothy 2:7 – Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. (KJV)

Years ago in Nursing Assistant training, we were given an exercise to help us gain insight into the difficulties with which some of our patients would have to live every day.

We were each given a bag of things that we would have to wear and/or use for half an hour.

In my bag was cotton batting for both ears, to muffle the sounds around me. There was also a pair of eyeglasses, the lenses of which were almost completely taped up, save for a pinhole opening in the middle. This was to accustom me to the plight of people who see only with tunnel vision. And lastly, I had to use a cane.

The half-hour seemed an eternity, but it opened my mind as well as my eyes. It also opened my heart.

Recently, dental surgery, which involved drilling into my jawbone, necessitated a considerable amount of freezing, rendering my tongue, jaw, and lips feeling thick, my throat unable to swallow properly, and my speech almost unintelligible. I knew what I was saying. Those to whom I was speaking did not, or at least they had a very difficult time understanding me.

It gave me a slight insight as to the plight of people with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), strokes, or other debilitating conditions where one's speech is impeded. Not to be understood is very frustrating; not to be able to swallow properly is a very scary feeling. I had to put up with it for only a few hours.

There are many times in our lives when certain temporary situations can thrust us into a state of feeling totally inconvenienced — or we can see them as gifts that God has placed before us as an opportunity to walk a mile in another person's shoes.

Prayer: Dear God, help us always to be thankful for those times when we are temporarily inconvenienced. May we take the opportunity to experience what others must live with every day, and in so doing, may it build in our hearts more compassion, more understanding, more love. In Jesus' name we ask. Amen.

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Mary Daniel <>
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

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