Daily Grat: Norman’s "Thinking Outloud"

Norman Suggs is a friend I met via the internet some years back. He’s only over in Stephenville, but the way the world works, it’s doubtful we’d ever have met without our mutual online geekiness.

He’s had cancer this past year, and has been undergoing treatment. Today on Facebook, he posted the blog below, which he called “Thinking Outloud.”

I asked him if I could pass it along, and he agreed. I want you to read it, because it so completely describes the concept of “Daily Gratitude” that I’ve been trying to foster in my own soul.

So, today’s Daily Gratitude is Normans’ Daily Gratitudes.

Thanks, Norman.

“Thinking Outloud”

In the past months I have been quietly observing myself. That may sound like a strange way to say this, but it is the best words can do to describe the process.

This week is the first anniversary on which my treatment for multiple myeloma began. The Revlimid was a good drug for what it was intended to do: to lower my white blood cell counts and reduce the marrow producing these. The transplant process would not begin until June and that was when it was most arduous.

So far as I can tell, the treatments continue to have forced the cancer into remission. It is probably going to be manageable for some time, with more treatments when it flares again and so on. I’m grateful for that. There are no complaints, no reason for sympathy and so on. I am fortunate.

I have noticed changes in me. I really do not find myself getting caught up in politics in the same way I might have at one time. Politics is essentially the decision process for who receives or uses what limited resources. Life is without limits – we keep fooling ourselves into thinking otherwise. It is really a matter of what is needed versus the next shiny object we allow ourselves to be distracted into desiring.

I see and appreciate little things: the feel of wind (hot, warm or cold) on my face, the warmth of sunlight on my scalp, the sound of bird songs.

I find myself looking into the eyes of others and marveling at the persons inside. We are all amazing creatures whether we realize it or not. I no longer feel the need to write as much as I once did. I still have a desire to write, but find myself unable to put into words what I am feeling and thinking.

A part of that is that I am left to drift in my thoughts a bit more. “Drift” may not be the best word for this – it implies uncontrolled directions and undirected destinations. In truth I do have control over the directions and can manage to guide myself along those paths. But I also find myself noticing and pausing for more of the rabbit trails and other paths that have led me to some remarkable discoveries. None of these are worthy of note, but they are wonderful all the same.

I love the feel of a hot shower – I used to prefer cold ones – and the sound of rainfall. I find myself thinking that music has a purity that does not exist in everyday existence. I enjoy the textures of things, both visual and physical.

I have rediscovered the taste of food. You really can’t appreciate that fact until you have had to deal with months of chemotherapy and the way it strips you of your sense of taste. Even at that I do not really find food attractive until I am hungry.

I have rediscovered the marvel of people and our diversity. I have rediscovered my amazement of how we describe and define our existence in relation to the Creator. I have found a revived amazement at the mystery of life, of it’s conception, the ways in which it grows, the ways in which all animated life shares a common gift of breath.

All of this is true for me. And at the current moment, it does not even begin to express the nuances in these and in every part of my life.

I am blessed beyond my ability to know and express.

If you’ve read this far, thanks for staying with me through the rambling. Go back to what you were doing. Or take a different direction. That is the fun of it all – it is your decision to make.

(During this year, my goal is to find something new to be thankful for every single day, and to add that thanksgiving as a blog entry, under the title “My Daily Gratitude.” I started this kick back around Thanksgiving, and it’s already resulted in a favorite new song of mine. The goal of this ongoing spiritual exercise is to see if doing such a thing might inspire even more gratitude within me, and to foster general awareness of life on a deeper level.)

(As always, if you like this post, then “like it”  or “share it” on Facebook by clicking the box below, or send it to your friends…so others can see too…and leave a comment…EF)  

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He is Senior Pastor of Kessler Park UMC United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. Previously, he was pastor at Northaven UMC in Dallas for seventeen years. Eric loves to write on topics of spirituality, social justice, music/art and politics. The entries on this blog reflect that diversity of interests. His passion for social justice goes beyond mere words. He’s been arrested at the White House, defending immigrants and “The Dreamers,” and he’s officiated at same sex weddings in his churches, in defiance of what some believe is Methodist teaching. Eric is an avid blogger and published author, and 2017 recipient of the prestigeous Kuchling Humanitarian Award from Dallas’ Black Tie Dinner. (Human Rights Campaign) Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He’s a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named “best judge” by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County, and is currently the longest service district judge in that district. She was re-elected for a fourth term in 2018. They have the world’s best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. Find links to Eric’s music-related websites, at the top of this site’s navigation menu.

3 thoughts on “Daily Grat: Norman’s "Thinking Outloud"

  1. Norman,What a beautiful expression of "living in the moment." You've discovered that place of rest that I found in 1993 when my 21 year old son Michael was killed by a drunk driver. When death sits so close to the heart….it brings with it a blessing. If we can look past the pain, we discover things there that weren't apparent before. And suddenly, life…with all of it's quirks…begins to make sense.Isn't that odd? 🙂

  2. Eric,"My Daily Gratitude" is a great idea. My suspicion is that in short order, posting every day, your gratitude will multiply….and you may need to post it twice a day, or three times….or every hour? Every minute? Wow!

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