Sunday, September 25, 2011

Choosing Joy

Last night the world lost a bright light. God welcomed home one of His warriors. I want to share the story of Sara Frankl aka Gitz or Gitzen Girl. Sara had not been able to leave her condo in Iowa for the last 3 years. She had an immune disease Ankolosing Spondylitis. Her immune system became so weak that even the air that came in on visitors could make her ill. When her father died unexpectedly a year ago she could not leave her condo to attend his funeral, but was there via webcam. Sara tells her story in her own words so much better than I can, but take some time and some tissues and click on over and read about this amazing woman. She named her blog Choose Joy, which is what she has taught literally thousands of us to do, no matter what our circumstances. You will come away a better person. 
I love what blogger Dan McMonagle said about Sara in his post Stunned By Beauty:
I am completely blown away….
I was caught off guard today, derailed when I least expected it. A blogger is dying, and her online community of friends is loving on her in  such a way that I couldn’t ignore it. And when I took a little time to double-take, to pause and consider… well, like I said above, I’m blown away.
Occasionally, we see a person who has touched a great many lives of those around them, but I’ve never witnessed such an outpouring of love surrounding someone who was basically a shut-in, forced to live within restricted physical confines for well over a decade.
Sara may have been limited to a confined space physically, but that did not keep her from impacting the world around her through her online connections to the outside world.  Her soul ran the race marked before her with relentless abandon, loving all that she could whenever she could.

And Here in Sara's own words, is her wish for her birthday this past May:

Today is my birthday, and people have been asking what they can get me or do for me. Watching the video below made me realize my answer.
Someone sent it to me the other day and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. It’s actually a piece about marketing, but for me it speaks volumes about what I’ve been trying to say to others with my life.
Will you take a moment to watch it before you read on?

I sit in this condo after these years of being homebound and I realize I have forgotten what fresh air smells like. I turn my ceiling fans on high so that my curtains rustle as if there is a breeze flowing through the windows. I watch them and try to imagine that the wind has picked up outside and the fresh air is blowing in.
But it isn’t. I can trick my brain and pretend, but I can’t capture that smell I’d taken for granted the majority of my life.
I don’t have a window that gets direct sunlight streaming in. I sit by a lamp and close my eyes and try to imagine the heat on my skin and the orange behind my eyelids as if the sun is beating down on me, but it’s not. The freckles that used to adorn my face are long since gone with the rays of sunlight that escape me.
I hear the lawn mower roar to life outside my walls as spring begins to bloom and I search back into my archive of memories to try to capture once again the smell of the fresh cut grass… even the pungent smell of blades ripping over unruly crab grass would be welcome to me now. I try so hard to find the smell that escapes me after too many years of having it gone missing.
I’m starting to lose the moments that mattered. The ones everyone rushes about their day not even realizing they exist.
Those are the things I want you to take away from looking at my life. I want you to not miss your own.
I’m not saying any of that so you’ll feel sorry for me. I don’t need that for my birthday. And I don’t need things for my birthday.
What I want is for my NOT getting to experience something to affect you in a way that you see what you might be missing.
For my birthday, I want you to do something for you.
I want you to STOP. I want you to FEEL and SMELL and ACKNOWLEDGEthe gifts that God puts out for you every single day when He makes the sun rise from it’s slumber and beat down on your skin. I want you to look up in the dark of night and see and feel the magnitude of the heavens and the stars and the full moon that I can’t see out my windows.
I want you to be fully awake to the blessings in your life and not miss a moment. Take them in and savor them in your senses as if you might lose them tomorrow.
Savor your life and blessings. And thank our God for the gift of it all.
That’s the best gift I could receive this year. To know that my life taught you something about your own.
Will you come back here and tell me something you savored today that you might have otherwise missed?
I would love to share in those moments with you.

I have a feeling this is only the beginning of Sara's story. Her legacy of joy is spreading like wildfire. We will all take up your mantle Sara, we will choose joy, savor life, and scatter His love in abundance! Well done good and faithful servant!

1 comment:

  1. What a touching portrait and showing how her story lives on..thanks!