Friday, September 30, 2005

Worth more than a billion dollar inheritance

Today I turned 54. Generally I enjoy birthdays, seeing them as one more reason to enjoy life. I even blogged my birthday last year. But today I've been sad. I'm not exactly sure why.

Recently I figured out that my insurance company pays about $150,000 a year for medicine for two chronic conditions I have--rheumatoid arthritis and emphysema due to alpha one antitrypson deficiency. And that doesn't count all the expense connected with being hospitalized for a blood clot this summer. Today I recieved a hospital bill for over $30,000 that my insurance company will pay one of these days.

It's expensive making sure I keep having birthdays.

Am I worth it? I suppose the answer is grace.

Here's three words of grace that I am treasuring on this day I turn 54. One, last night as Sarah lay in my arms she said, "I am glad you are alive for your birthday."

She, who's father was killed before she was born, never loses track of the wonder of having a man who loves her and doesn't disappear on her.

Two, recently I began writing a column for Tiskilwa's weekly newspaper and today I received a birthday card from Wilber and Doris Giltner, a couple I've met a time or two. In the card they wrote: "We sure enjoy your column in the Chief. Keep up the good work - you are an asset to our community!"

Three, you have to know a little background to appreciate the sentence in my daughter Hannah's card that's ringing in my heart. First, as a communal member of Plow Creek Fellowship we've taken the equivalent of a vow of poverty. Sarah and I are accumulating no assets to pass on to our chidlren. Second, I write a letter of each of my children and their spouses/fiancees each week. In her card to me Hannah was reflecting on how close to me she feels even though she and her husband Donny live in Florida while Sarah and I live in Illinois.

Then Hannah said, "I realize it is because of your faithful letters, e-mails, and our phone conversations. Thank you for all your letters--I woudn't trade them for a billion dollar inhertance."

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