This is way different from the normal posts here, but I wanted the guys to read it, too. Many of you know that I have recently started to battle rheumatoid arthritis. My right ankle, right hand, and left hip are the worst so far, but I think everything but my neck and back are involved as well right now. It makes moving harder. I'm slower. Simple jobs take more time. But I'm learning something -- a new way of living -- and since we actually have some here on Baptist Board who are over thirty (gasp!), maybe this will be something you can remember when it is the right time to remember it. This is a big house -- six kids and half a neighborhood were raised here. Six bedrooms, three full baths, two outbuildings, four thousand square feet of lawn in the middle of a landscaped acre. It's a lot to care for. Not counting Chris -- retarded and bigger than I am now -- the fish and guinea pig my daughter left behind for me to care for when she went to college, three dogs, ten chickens, and a mess of voracious hummingbirds who empty three quart feeders every 48 hours or so. At first I was really depressed -- pain can do that pretty easily. You get tired and tiredness leads to depression, and the pain never really stops. My retarded son needs his diapers changed frequently, even though he's almost 19 years old now. So I was in the laundry room a couple of weeks ago, changing him, and, while I was bent over, noticed a toy he had left on the floor there. "As long as I am down here, I'll pick it up." So I did, and walked into the kitchen where I keep a basket for his toys. "As long as I am in here, I can get the dishes into hot, soapy water and do the counters." So I did. Doing the counters, there was mail on the end of one that hadn't made it to the den yet. "Might as well take it in." As long as I was in the den, I could make a couple of calls I had been putting off. Calls done, dishes soaked, I walked back to wash them and put them in the drainer. The hot water felt good on my hands. I wanted to sit down. "As long as I am going to sit down, it might as well be at the desk where I can clean stuff up." And so it went. And so it continues to go. "As long as I'm here..." continues to get enormous amounts of work done I would not have suspected I would have had the time or energy for. And I started thinking about my own life. "As long as I'm here..." ...in this neighborhood, there are smiles and jokes and too much fruit on the trees to share. ...in this grocery store, what about that checkout girl who was so sad the other day? ...in this church, who came here today that no one bothered to say hello to? You know something? Living slower and more thoughtfully isn't half bad! The pain isn't such hotshot stuff, but there are some good things going on in my life that might not have happened without it.