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By Forrest Hershberger
View From The Handlebars 

Counting Our Blessings

 

September 16, 2020 | View PDF

In even the best experience, high school has a way of making a student feel like he’s passing through a blender.

Don’t get me wrong. High School can be a fun experience. It is a fun and learning experience academically and socially. The books and now the tablets and iPads are only part of the bigger lessons, the social lessons.

I call it a blender because students pass in and out of classes, some thinking of the next class, others stressed about the quiz they just bombed and others who can’t see beyond the eyes that just entered the room. It’s not a bad thing. It’s called social interaction and the numerous people each with their own view of their surroundings. I recall the uniqueness of my senior year, entering a new school, trying to plan a course to succeed and move on to the next stage. Sometimes I was guilty of being so focused on the next stage I didn’t get the full enjoyment of the present moment. That changed, however, when I was the one who saw “those eyes” across the room.


No, I’m not introducing a high school romance. I saw someone that blew through the door way exactly on time or a few minutes late with this aura of “I’m here! Now the fun can begin!” She had the look in her eyes like she didn’t take life too seriously and on her terms as much as possible. I didn’t know her name. I couldn’t catch up with her, and we ran in different social circles then.

Almost 10 years later and a college degree in hand, I’m back home doing the duties of a community journalist when I see the same eyes while walking into the hospital. She was coming off the night shift as a nurse, but still had that same gleam in her eyes. By now, the gleam implied mutual curiosity as well. A few weeks later I show up at an evening church service and hear laughter that could shake the rafters and make heaven itself smile. Yes, it is the same person. Now, the idea of going to a church to find a date never really was a motivation, partly because of the number of small churches I had attended.


We started seeing each other. I learned what it is like to have a child around, and she learned the insanity of sports assignments. The start of this adventure is almost 30 years ago, and the start of us as a family 27 years ago this weekend.

We’re like anyone else in the sense life has provided many unexpected journeys. We didn’t expect to move to another part of the state. We didn’t expect to suddenly and unplanned move back to our home area. We clearly didn’t expect some of the health issues that we faced. Probably, most of all, we didn’t expect how hard life would try to derail us in a short period of time. We faced the loss of three generations -- my father, our daughter and my grandmother -- in a few months.


None of these were easy. Losing our daughter was the hardest. We had to determine to stay focused, to get up each day holding onto each other and a reason to find the sunshine. We had to determine the accident that claimed our daughter would not claim another victim, our marriage.

Through it all, I’ve grown to appreciate my wife more and more. As a nurse, she has committed time often above and beyond expectations. We once left a wedding reception early, an “adopted daughter,” so she could stop in on a home health patient. She has pushed herself to almost sleeplessness to be a healthcare professional, wife and mother. She is no longer the high school girl with little thought of the future and is more of a Proverbs 31 woman than she gives herself credit.


Happy 27th anniversary.

 

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