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Do I have to?

Many years ago, a good friend of mine, JD, from our church was having kidney failure and had to go to dialysis three times a week. His wife would get up early and take him at 3:30 am. Several of us from the church would pick him up at about 7:30. He wanted to go to breakfast before going home.

JD was usually in a grumpy mood after dialysis and rightfully so. Usually, when I would take him to breakfast, he would complain about where we went, how bad the breakfast was, or how it could have been better.

His complaints would occur week after week as I picked him up usually on Wednesdays. If I was ever late, I was in trouble, which I understood. I heard how hard it was to wait and how he didn't know if I would be there. It was before cell phones.

I would arrive early, sitting in the waiting room with dialysis patients. I began to meet many of them. I started to hear their stories: "I can't empty my dishwasher anymore, or I can’t reach the cabinets to put my dishes away, I can't vacuum anymore, I can't sweep, I hate it when the wind blows, and my trash cans go down the street, I usually have to get someone to go get them for me."

This was the beginning of a significant shift for me. I wouldn't say I liked to put the dishes away. I didn't want to empty the dishwasher, vacuum, sweep, or chase the trash cans. As I sat there and listened to the stories, I began to look at my hands and feet.

I began to think about how equipped I am and what a privilege it is to have health, strength, and ability. At that moment, I shifted from

“I have-to to I get-to.”

“I have to is a struggle. I get to is a privilege.”

I get to empty the dishwasher, sweep, and chase the trash cans because I have a healthy body. I have two good hands and feet. If I think of it as a gift that I get to do something, life becomes easier. It is my choice to be involved and engaged in life. Today, regardless of how much I do not want to do a chore, I remember that “I get to.” What a privilege!

What about you? Is life a have-to or a get-to?

Watch for the blind spots.

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