One More Day

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I am convinced that I have gained more strength and wisdom in the past two days than I have throughout my entire life.

I can only describe it as a sort of awakening and clarity that has jolted my senses and filled my heart with hope, love and understanding.  I can feel my soul rise above me and watch me take it all in, in amazement.

The beauty of it all is so vividly apparent and pressed right up against my face.  Like a flashing billboard on a moonless night, it is luring me in all the while wondering what took me so long to grasp its invaluable simplicity.  

So very simple.

As I wallowed in my insignificant thoughts of the day, I remembered a commitment I had made to the woman who cleans my house.  She has worked with me for years and in spite of her less than ideal past, has transformed herself into a caring religious adult.

As a result of her illegal and reckless behavior as a young woman, she was diagnosed with the HIV virus twenty years ago.  She is fortunate to have access to top medical care and is optimistic about her future.

In honor of World Aids Day today, her church was hosting her and celebrating her successful battle with the disease and her spiritual transformation.  She would be speaking at this event and thus invited people in her life to join in on the celebration.

I did not want to go.  Although I respect her and her accomplishments, it was cold and rainy out and the last thing I wanted to do was to go to a ‘strange’ church filled with people I didn’t know and sit through the two-hour program.   I went as far as texting her to ask her when specifically she would be speaking so that I could skip the rest of the event.

Then, I resigned myself to the idea that I would be going and  stopped to pick up a bouquet of flowers for her.  I drove myself to an unfamiliar location in the cold rain and sat in the last pew at the church.  I figured it would be an easy escape once her speech was over.

The ceremony began with a beautiful song sung by the choir.  A song titled, One More Day.  I settled in my seat opening my mind to what lay ahead.  I listened to the beautiful words and music.  I felt my shoulders relax and my breathing slow down to a resting breath.  

Verse one:   

I woke up, early this morning
And I saw, a brand new dawning , When I got up, I opened my eyes, I said Lord I thank you for keeping me alive.

Unlike the solemn mood of the songs at the church I occasionally attend, I was enjoying this inspiring and upbeat gospel piece.  

Chorus Lead: Thank you Lord,
Choir: One more day
Lead: For one more day
Choir: One more day
Lead: Lord you been good to me
Choir: One more day
Lead: For just one more day
Choir: One more day

After numerous speakers told their stories of lost loved ones, talked about the stigma that still exists for AIDS patients and the lack of worldwide rhetoric about a disease that killed 1.2 million people in 2014 alone, it was my friend’s turn to speak.

To say that I couldn’t wipe the tears off my face fast enough is an understatement.  She told of her many struggles, of the costly mistakes she made, of the number of people she used and lied to and of her terrifying diagnosis and death sentence she received 20 years ago.

She expressed her gratitude to her loved ones, her church and all the people in her life who chose not to judge her.  Who chose to accept her in spite of her past and who made her feel that she mattered.  Once she saw that others loved her, she stopped thinking of herself as unworthy and began to love herself.  

She repeated the words, one more day and expressed her gratitude for having the gift of life.

Verse 2:
Lord you kept me, from all hurt and harm
Lord you kept me safe in the cradle of your arms
Lord I want you to know, I won’t complain
Everytime I think of your goodness, I gotta praise your name
opportunity to live one more day

I saw hope.  I saw hard work.  I saw love.  I saw gratitude.  I saw forgiveness.  I saw the value and the blessing of, one more day.

How self-absorbed and petty I was to try to get out of attending this event. How presumptuous of me to assume that I was doing this person a favor by going, when it was obvious that I received much more than I gave.

A situation yesterday where I met with my niece who has chosen to live a more wholesome life after a tumultuous past,  combined with having experienced this beautiful service today has enlightened me so significantly.  It has given my hardened and at times cynical soul a reason to believe again.  

To believe that people can change.  To believe that love can overcome almost anything.  To believe that there is always hope.  To believe that with hard work and devotion, happiness and peace are possible.  To believe, that even when putting all religion aside, gratitude for who we are, what we have and for every new day we live, is imperative to achieving a fulfilling life.

One More Day.

So very simple.

 

 

52 thoughts on “One More Day

  1. Thank you for sharing, Mrs. B, so we all can have our eyes opened by your enriching encounter with your friend’s embracing church community. How beautiful they are to address her and so many people’s return to good graces in such a joyous and heartfelt manner. ❤

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  2. Duuuuuuuude this was so freaking amazing!! I LOVE these moments! I love it when they happen and love it when they happen to others and they share it so I can be reminded of great life lessons as well. I am so happy that you were able to go through this enlightenment process when you least expected it. Dude. I have totally been in your shoes where I totally think I’m doing someone else a favor by attending something and then I go and I come away with so much more. It’s such a great feeling and I’m loving that phrase One More Day…how awesome. So happy for you mujer! Buen Camino 🙂

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  3. I am glad you went. I would have wanted to cop out as well. I might have done everything possible (meaning nothing) to not have to go.
    You are lucky to have such a friend in your life.
    I find that when you befriend the people that help you (work) in your house, they become family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I knew I had to go but I was searching for a way out, for sure! I guess most of us are guilty of this and sometimes we just can’t attend an event but I knew better and glad I listened to my inner voice. Thanks so much for reading. 🙂

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  4. John and I volunteer with therapeutic horse riding. Last week it was rainy and cold. I also wanted to find an excuse not to go. I’m glad I did. Sunny, a cutey, rides once a week to ease her arthritic joints open. Never ever complains. Has the sunniest outlook ever. What an outlook this 5 year old has. I was humbled.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I saw this on the news and your friend was interviewed. Very moving and the interview was a mere 60 seconds. I can see why it must have been so very inspirational in person!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wholehearted and glorious thanksgiving. What an incredible blessing your friend was, and how she is using her experiences to teach others, not how to live, but how to be THANKFUL! This is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Honeybee – that means a lot coming from you, someone who expresses herself so eloquently and wholeheartedly! It was such a lesson for me in gratitude and selflessness. Ever since taking in my niece a couple of years ago and getting so burned, I have become more cynical and weary. This jolted my sleeping optimism and gave me hope. Thank you for sharing my words, sweet pea. 🙂

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  7. Ok ok ok. Im so very tempted to give myself away right now. Possibly, I’ll find you on Facebook….
    This story hit me in many ways. I hope you will allow me to repost on my “hardened and cynical” site. Its so very relevant! We all need to read this.
    My upbringing involved alot of religion. Not only did I attend Christian Schools throughout my childhood and adolescence, I attended church regularly. My father, a Southern Baptist deacon. My Mother, church secretary and volunteer.
    As an adult, I rebelled quickly. The best, most honest way I knew how. With love. I got married at 19. I kept my familys love, yet I was on my own. Left alone to make my own wrong decisions. And I did. Many and often.
    Many years later, I can’t walk into a church without getting chills. Maybe it’s the “feel good” that keeps me away. More than likely its the phoniness Ive seen my entire life by “christians”.
    Those things you mentioned (especially the hymns) that feel SO GOOD. Its why people gravitate toward worship. – Jain

    Liked by 2 people

        1. True. But I miss many many aspects of fellowship. Some things feel so bittersweet, to me. The common denominator is ALWAYS happiness, though. Hymns, choirs, revivals… You get it. 😀

          Liked by 1 person

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