I have really bad varicose veins. They were an inheritance my dad left to me and to my two sisters. If you are not familiar with varicose veins, I am happy for you. Veins return blood from the far parts of the body to the heart to be pumped to the lungs to get oxygen to be sent out again to the body to nourish the body. To get the blood back to the heart from the feet and hands there are valves in the veins to push the blood back against gravity. If you have varicose veins, chances are you have worn out valves that can no longer push the blood back to the heart effectively. When the valves are broken, the blood can’t be moved efficiently. The blood, then, pools and the veins start to sag. Here you can see my sagging veins.
Over many years, so many valves become effected that the legs begin to ache, itch and fail to nourish the extremities. As a nurse, I am on my legs for better than half a day. I wear compression stockings to hold myself up and when I get home, I lay down and put my legs up to ease the throbbing of those poor valves struggling to return the blood of my body from my feet and arms, against gravity, all day long while carrying the weight of my body all the while. I love to get into a bathtub full of water and float. The buoyancy of the water gives my poor body rest like nothing else I know. With sufficient depth of water, I can reduce my body weight by 90%. The bones, the joints, the veins, the muscles all say in chorus, “Ahhhh.”
I was thinking of this as I was trying to frame my thoughts on this day when I walk with my Multitude on Mondays community and purpose to give thanks for the blessings in my life. There are weak spots in my spirit that make my spiritual life difficult just as the irreparable valves in my varicose veins make my physical life difficult. Pride, assertion of my rights, self-pity and hurt feelings all inch their way in to squelch my thanksgiving. My gratitude, then, does not flow back to the heart of God as it should. I wrote about a recent specific example of this in my Palm Sunday post yesterday. When a life-giving flow of gratitude disappears, I am cut off from the Holy Spirit. He is the one who buoys me up and over or strengthens me through the hard places. As I try to go on without His support, I begin to feel heavy, to falter and become fearful. My spirit aches.
So today I’m starting my day with thanksgiving with my brothers and sisters of the Multitude on Mondays community. Together we are going to change the world! Here is my list of things for which I am thankful:
#90 the buoyancy of water
#91 sisters and brothers in Christ who are iron that sharpens iron
#92 answers to prayer, and that sometimes I even recognize them
#93 that my grandson, Luke, gets to spend Holy Week with me
#94 my precious young friend, Kristen, is finding beauty after her stroke
#95 good friends that make work easier
#96 the chore of getting mother’s clothes out of her house is done
#97 my legs don’t ache this morning
#98 chocolate-covered peanut butter eggs for Easter
#99 my sisters meeting me for lunch
#100 for you being with me here today