The beginning of last summer I posted a story about my friend Bonnie who was in a terrible car accident that almost took her life. Bonnie's life was spared but she still lost a lot. She lost the use of her left arm and hand, though a new surgery is in the plans for next Wed that will help restore her some use and further therapy should help her gain more use of her fingers. She lost her left-side vision. If she looks at your right eye she can see your nose but not your left eye. Thus everything appears dark to her and reading is very difficult. She lost her ability to run but has now regained her ability to walk due to multiple remarkable surgeries on her ankles and knee. She lost her whole summer. She remembers none of it. She lost the beauty of her arms and legs as they are now covered in scars and her left arm had much of the muscle and skin stripped off of it. She lost her teeth though the ones she now has are beautiful. But she is still Bonnie, a gentle and caring person who I was given the opportunity to work beside for 4 years.
As I talked with Bonnie on Tuesday, and celebrated in my heart her survival, she talked of a sense of uselessness. I wanted to scream, "Bonnie, how can you feel useless? You are so important to me! Your very existence is what my whole Thanksgiving is about this year." Instead I calmly pointed out her importance to me and how God is even now using her injury to teach doctors and nurses who will go on to impact others lives. I told her how very important she was and how I had to see her before Thanksgiving Day because my heart was so full of gratitude for her life.
And then I thought. How easy it is for all of us to fall into seeing our value in what we do and accomplish. That is what Bonnie was doing, missing terribly the sense of achievement that comes from teaching young minds. But from my end, Bonnie is valuable just because she is Bonnie. I couldn't quite explain that to her, but the light bulb came on for me. This is how God's sees us, valuable just because we exist. Nothing we do earns His love. Nothing we do defeats it.
He loves me because I exist and am precious to him. So today, beyond celebrating Bonnie's physical life, I celebrate the lesson that her trajedy just taught me. My value is in my being.