by Sheldon Bass
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An artist, who toils over a painting, pouring his heart and soul and imagination into his labor of love, likes to have his work appreciated. It is beauty that he has created, and he hopes to inspire and bless others through his passionate work. Whether they are an architect, a craftsman, musician or writer, each one creates things. All that has been created holds beauty and value of some sort, to be enjoyed; pleasure for the eye, the ear, some for the heart, and yet others for the mind and soul.
There is much beauty in the world around us that too often goes unnoticed or is not fully appreciated, whereas other things receive a lot of attention. The brilliant and varied colors of a wide array of blooms, sprouting from the rugged limbs of trees or the tender stalks of flowers growing wild and domestic are the more obvious displays from creation that many people enjoy.
People themselves are a beauty to behold. The human body is amazing in its architecture and design and features. While most of us do not readily perceive a body part as beautiful, a doctor who specializes in nothing but hands, is better able to wonder at the remarkable engineering that went into creating a hand than most people, who never take time to ponder such a prolific device, yet we use two of them all day, every day. The bones, tendons and muscles, the blood vessels, nerves and skin, and the fingernails are to some, a thing of great beauty.
An elderly woman I had the privilege of knowing for several years lived in a family care home, where I worked as a supervisor at one of the houses for semi ambulatory residents. Her name was Chloe, and both her hands and her feet were amputated at the tender age of six. She is one of the sweetest and most inspiring people I have ever known. One might think that she would be bitter over this predicament that life had cast her into, but she was just the opposite. She was full of kindness and down home country wisdom, and she had a fiery independent spirit that made others sit up and take notes. Chloe had learned to use her limb stumps to do everything imaginable. In fact, I cannot recollect anything that her disability kept her from doing once she put her mind to it.
One day as we sat at the dining room table conversing over southern style cooking, she pinned my right hand to the table with one strong wrist stump. I wasn't sure just what she was going to do, but Chloe said, "Look at your hand, it is a beautiful and amazing machine". As I did so, she continued with, "A hand is a blessing from God--just one of His brilliant designs". I hadn't thought much about it before, but she was right. With a coy smile and her country charm she then said, "Never forget to be thankful that you have two of those." And then, "Be sure that you make the best use of them."
It seemed like a long time before Chloe finally let go of my hand, I had to promise first, that I would remain thankful for my hands and my feet, along with all of my other body parts, which until that day I had taken for granted. There are many things that Chloe taught me, but one of the greatest was learning to appreciate what God has given me. It is true that most people do not fully appreciate what they have until the day comes when they no longer have it, whatever the "it" may be. I pray that you will not be one of those people, but that you will know "the joy of living," which remaining grateful brings.
Take time today to thank God for what He has blessed you with, and then thank the people He has placed in your life, for being in your life. You will find happiness, value and beauty all along your life's journey.
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We do take so many of God's gifts for granted. Thank you for this reminder.