"The choices we make change
the story of our life." ©

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Blessings All Around

I don’t know where I heard the story, but it stuck. Perhaps you’ve heard it as well. It goes something like this: In ancient China, a farmer had a couple horses. A storm came and the farmer’s horses got free. A neighbor noted the empty yard. “Oh, your horses ran away. That’s too bad.”

“Maybe yes, maybe no,’ the farmer replied.

The next day the horses returned with five wild mares. The neighbor heard the horses neighing and came by to see. “Now you have seven horses! You are very lucky!”

The farmer shrugged. “Maybe yes, maybe no.”

Word spread of the farmer’s good fortune. One day his only son came out to help him break in the new horses. He was thrown from one of them and broke his leg. Of course, the neighbor heard the commotion and raced over to see what happened. “Oh my, this is too bad for you.”

The old farmer didn’t even look up. Instead he helped his son into the house. “Maybe yes, maybe no,” he called over his shoulder.

The very next day soldiers of the emperor came riding in to the village and took every able bodied young man with them to fight in the war. Because his leg was broken, the farmer’s son did not have to go.

I think Job said it best when he asked his wife, “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” Just like the whole half-empty/half-full glass theory, it is all in how we look at things. Everyone has troubles and everyone has blessings. If I came here to tell you all the hard parts of my life, you would probably have a hard time believing that I feel blessed beyond measure.

The same thing goes for our Ian. Born with a genetic disease that would one day take his life, Ian made so many trips to the hospital, I lost count—I stopped counting after thirty. Would you believe that we had to make him work on staying healthy? True! He had so much fun at the hospital he would let himself get sick so he could go back! Cable TV, sleeping in to whenever he wanted, a computer for his room, gifts and attention from friends and family, celebrity visits and the food he wanted—what’s not to like? All it cost him was some therapy and a few needles and he could handle that.

Thankfully, Ian outgrew that attitude but it was hard for awhile. Instead he developed an attitude of humor and generosity. He enjoyed making people laugh and bringing joy. I’ve dedicated a page on my website to his wit—we’ve come to call the sayings “Ian-isms” because they are so him.

After Ian went home to be with Jesus, our family gathered to remember stories and find reasons for joy. A friend took notes so the stories could be shared his memorial service. And oh, the stories we shared! I learned things that night as Ian’s sisters let the cat out of the bag for several things. Even in our grief, we couldn’t help but realize how blessed we were to have had him in our lives. Ever since, I’ve held on to those stories and laughter. I could choose to thank God for blessing me with Ian, even for such a short time or I could hold on to bitterness and grief and lose out on the joys of the present and the hope of the future. Like God said, He has placed life and death, blessings and curses before us. He pleads with us to choose life. He even sent His Son to die for us that we may have abundant life. Since it is a choice, I choose life. I choose blessings.

In closing today’s post, I’m going to share one of my favorite Ian stories. I was teaching at the same school where my kids attended. One day while I was working after school, Ian was hanging out in the boys’ bathroom with one of his friends. Now to get the proper picture of this, you have to know that both boys were in the seventh grade. Ian’s friend was on the Jr. High football team and was not only good sized for his age, he was also wearing his uniform, pads and all. Ian, on the other hand was more than a head shorter, a good fifty pounds lighter and wearing no padding whatsoever. However, both being thirteen year old boys, they were doing something which seemed to them most fun and entertaining—they were taking turns shoving each other into the bathroom door. Ian’s friend took his turn, by this time getting into the game, and shoved a little too hard. Ian’s g-tube popped out. At least, this is the story Ian told as he came running into my classroom, his hands cupped around the g-tube.

I’d like to say I didn’t panic, but I think I’m supposed to be honest here so let’s say I behaved like any other mom in the same situation. I called the doctor and we ended up spending the evening at the ER getting things fixed. It wasn’t until that evening of sharing Ian stories that I discovered what he had neglected to tell me.

Meg saw Ian at the water fountain. He was getting a drink, but then he straightened, lifted his shirt and stared at this stomach. Then he got another drink and did the same thing. “What are you doing,” she asked.

“I want to see if I leak.”
Well, his stomach might not have leaked, but his humor and generosity spilled out on all of us who knew him.

Abundant blessings,

PS If you have a story of blessing that didn't start out that way or a possible Ianism, please feel free to share in the comments. We love to hear from you and you might get drawn for a free book!
Such memories! Precious memories! What can I say through my tears - except thank you, Lord, for lending Ian to us for a while. We love him and miss him. He has left a shining light to lead us home to God. Blessings to all the Cary's. Mom/Gramma
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