Like many 30-somethings, I have been raised in a culture of step aerobics and calorie-counting. I also grew up in a culture of Adventism where many believe Veganism is the healthiest, others believe eating high-sodium fake meat (we call it feat in our house) is healthier than animal products, and no one really knows what they’re doing. We move too little and eat too much.

It took me until 30-something before I understood that health is important (ironically, this is also the age when I finally felt like an adult for the first time).

Unfortunately, the year that I felt my healthiest, was the one that tried to kill me.

Keep on the Sunny Side

There is an old hymn written by Ada Blenkhorn in 1899 inspired by a nephew who was wheelchair-bound. The boy would ask his caregiver to “keep on the sunny side” as they made their daily walk down the street. Though he was bound to his wheelchair completely, he wanted to be pushed along the sunny side of the street–even if that meant crossing the street or passing through rougher terrain.

Ada Blenkhorn’s lyrics spoke to a generation that lived through the Civil War, World War I, Polio, Yellow Fever, the Spanish Flu epidemic, a Presidential assassination,  and then the Great Depression. Those that lived through these devastating events never experienced life the same again. They raised their children differently after that. They believed differently, worshipped differently, lived differently.

For those of my generation, we’ve lived through the attack on the World Trade Center, the longest war in American history, two economic collapses, and now a global pandemic. We’ve seen our fair share of darkness on our side of the road. Like Ada’s generation, we need to keep on the sunny side–otherwise? It’s nothing but darkness on earth.

There’s a dark and troubled side of life; There’s a bright and sunny side too
Tho’ we meet with the darkness and strife, The sunny side we also may view.

What is your dark and troubled side? What clouds are blocking your bright and sunny sky? The lyrics above are truer now than ever, maybe more with the darkness and strife of 2020. Tho we meet with it daily, we also can see the sunny side.

Tho’ the storm in its fury break today, Crushing hopes that we cherished so dear,
Storm and cloud will in time pass away, The sun again will shine bright and clear.

Let us greet with a song of hope each day, Tho’ the moments be cloudy or fair;
Let us trust in our Savior always, Who keepeth everyone in His care.

Every day we awake in 2020, I think we hope things will be better, only for darkening skies and worsening conditions. The pressure is high, the floods rise, and lightning strikes, yet behind the clouds, there is a blue sky.

In 2020 I’ve endured a 56-day stay-at-home order, a quarantine, a ruptured appendix, emergency surgery, bladder surgery immediately following my recovery, three biopsies in which I had to wait for results, and three funerals. Three. 

In 2020 I have seen more dark and clouds than in my lifetime. I’ve had to tell my children plans were canceled, trips were canceled, homeschool co-op is canceled, and “no you can’t go without a mask” more times than I can count.

Despite all the darkness, there is a sunny side. I had a near-death experience. It derailed my fitness, lead to a slow recovery, and contributes to slight depression. Truth? It still affects me. I’ve gained weight. I’m angry about the time lost.

The sunny side is obvious, though, right? I’m alive!  Instead of causing a life-threatening infection, my bowel wrapped around my perforated appendix and saved me life. I’m alive.

You’re alive.

We’re alive–whether our moments be cloudy or fair.

We’re alive, and our savior keeps us all in His care.