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WHEN LIFE DEALS YOU A BAD HAND
Many years ago someone invented a poker game called "Seven Card Draw." One of the primary features of this game was that if you got some cards you didn't like, you could discard up to three of them and draw some more. This made the game more interesting because you had the opportunity to get a better hand, thereby increasing your chances of winning.
In view of something that has happened in our home over the past several months, I wish life were like that game but unfortunately it's not. You see, when life deals you a bad hand, you just have to play it and make the most of it. As "they" say, that's life.
Several months ago I wrote a column titled, "The Happy Loser" where I talked about my wife going to the liquor store to buy some 'Gin' to mix with white raisins. This mixture, according to Paul Harvey and others, is supposed to help cure arthritis. Well, what we thought was arthritis turned out to be Parkinson's Disease. Over this period of time it has gotten progressively worse but still a mild case, especially in relation to the ordeal that many others with this disease are coping with day after day.
It took months before we finally accepted the diagnosis and in the meantime we tried everything to get her some relief from the pain or to find out for sure what it was. I can remember many trips to the hospital, several Doctors, specialists, physical therapy, and early on we even tried a Chiropractor. All to no avail. One of the reasons that made it hard to accept for us is that most people with Parkinson's do not experience physical pain. At least to the degree that she was experiencing it.
The thing that is hardest for me is to see her suffer and not be able to do anything about it. I would take this terrible disease for her if I could, but of course I can't. All I can do is be supportive, help her as much as I can and be there for her. Here I would like to say that I don't share this to elicit sympathy because there are millions of people who have a terminal illness, handicaps and various maladies that are far worse than what we are experiencing.
These thoughts rather are more about "how" you play that bad hand you are dealt more than anything else. It is still true that it is far more important "how" you react to the things that happen to you than "what" happens to you. My wife Viola has always been a loving, caring and beautiful person who does more for others than anyone I know and I only learn the tip of the iceberg because someone is always telling me what she has done for them.
Even though she moves a little slower and gets tired a little quicker, she is still very active. She loves to cook, work in the garden and flower beds, keeps a spotless house, does all the grocery shopping and helps me some in the office. She spends time reading the Bible and in prayer and is a blessing to me in so many ways. The other day I asked her the question, "Do you ever blame God for your condition?" She said, "Of course not."
I'm sure you know that many people do not know or understand God's nature. He loves us and wants the best for us. We are all going to die from something whether it's an accident, a disease, a heart attack or simply wear out from old age. In reality, how we handle adversity is the true measure of our faith. Yes, when life deals us a bad hand, we just have to play it, but how we play it is what makes the difference. As the late Pearl Bailey once said, "People see God everyday. They just don't recognize Him." (EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72032.)
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