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The things we take for granted

By Debbie Olujobi

Going down a flight of stairs in a familiar place, filled with friends and family, sharing pleasantries and exchanging greetings is pretty normal for a Sunday. It’s the equivalent of the sentiments expressed in the the theme song of the eighties sitcom “Cheers”. It’s a simple song, with simple words we all can relate to and I thought I’d use it to illustrate my theme for the week.

Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got.
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.
Wouldn’t you like to get away?
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
and they’re always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows

Your name.

The theme of the song celebrates a local bar, a place where the famous Cheers cast played the parts of people whose lives revolved around the friendships and bonds forged over drinks in their local tavern. Unlike them however, I don’t drink or frequent bars but I do feel the same way about my church.

Its very familiar to me and everyone or most people know my name just like in the song. This past sunday was nothing out of the ordinary and while there may have been more activities as my family was neck deep in preparations for a wedding, I wouldn’t have expected the day to end the way it did.

There are many things we take for granted, we just assume things should function to purpose and it’s amazing how little it would take for us to unravel. So back to my waltzing down a very familiar flight of stairs when I suddenly felt like a jack hammer had forced my head to crush my neck.

I’ve sprained some muscles in the neck region from sleeping uncomfortably many a time but this was different. The pain went up from level to level till my neck simply could not carry the weight of my head. By the time I got home I could barely keep it together and a nightmare that has had me on medication and in a neck brace for the better part of a week began.

On a lighter note, I have a lot more respect for my neck; it has to carry a rather heavy object that swings and turns at will without regard for its delicate nature. I remember one of the nights when the pain called the bluff of all painkillers and liniments; lying down propped up by all shapes and sizes of pillows, feeling so helpless wondering how a neck that had been a trusted ally all my life decided to rebel.

The frustration I felt was compounded by the lack of a sensible trigger; I had not been working out, I didn’t wake up with any pain; I wasn’t carrying anything heavy, it didn’t make sense. It was particularly annoying to have pain begin in a place I felt safe, my place where I connect, to worship, pray, sing, share and hopefully dump my troubles.

I should mention that my threshold for pain is not very high and while I try not to be mean when in pain; my thoughts were uncharitable at best; they ran riot and I concocted many theories best explained in another column.

My theme of gratitude is more than reinforced by my painful week. It reminded me of the millions of things we take for granted.

I like to think that I am a grateful person but even I am not as grateful for the little things as much as I am the big ones. When I pray concerning my health; I touch on organs, blood, limbs and the other superstars of the body but I have never singled out my neck for special supplication.

There were days these past week when I had to use my hands to carry my head because my neck couldn’t. I had a lot of time to contemplate about life and just how many things we all take for granted. I was humbled by my own helplessness in the face of pain and discomfort that defied medicine.

God proved himself faithful and where medicines failed, prayer prevailed. I am thankful this week for the smaller things; I can’t take for granted the place and power of an invisible nerve ending or cell; I cant take for granted the sympathy and kindness extended by my loved ones and most importantly I cant take for granted the power of prayer and the miracle of healing. These were my realities this week and I remain forever thankful.


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