A Jim Shinn Column: A Grateful Guy


in the last year, my income has been cut in half, we plan to lose health insurance for my wife in September of next year and I have developed health problems with no cure in sight. Some would say it has been a bad year, but it has been a “grate” year, because I am grateful. I am not going to invest the column about the family, financial and health frustrations, since there are more valuable things on which we can focus our eyes and mind…What I have left!

I am grateful that although I have lost some health, I am still ambulatory. A friend recently died and he had health and more serious brain issues than me, and his everyday quote was “I am still walking above ground!” His name was Alan Pipkin and he was beloved by many, although I just knew him as one of the many Bucklin park walkers. It reminds me that I am still able, even in the face of disability.

I have played competitive sports for over 55 years and my knees and ankles are in good shape. I still play basketball by myself at the MLK sports complex and it feels good to run, shoot and dribble. I am the old guy, who is right handed, who will practice dribbling and shooting with the left hand. Someone says doing things with the other had is good for brain health. Who knows, but this right handed guy has hit two out of six 3-pointers. Once again, the thrill of victory over nothing!

God has been good to my family financially, so even though we had a loss, we are still in the win column. KGBA, the Christian radio station, has daily programs on how to manage money. Now a school counselor and secretary wife are never going to bring in six figures, but if you make good choices, you will be OK in the long run. We have done that and although no exotic vacations are in the budget, we feel secure in our very old home that is paid for. I feel bad for the millennials who will never be able to afford to buy a house.

The losing of health, finances and health insurance is a trifecta that could try my nerves. No, I am not going to say I never think “Why?” or wring my hands with “What are we going to do?” It is normal and human to worry, but I don’t live there. “Faith is fear that has said his prayers.” Faith is belief in the things unseen. Well, I know as a therapist, looking (or living) in the future creates anxiety, and looking (or living) in the past, leads to depression. We all choose the state where we live, and I prefer to live in peace rather than panic. I meditate on God’s word saying “Don’t worry about tomorrow” (Matthew 6:34) and “I know the plans I have for you…to prosper you and not to harm you…” (Jeremiah 29:11).

In spite of a crazy election, we still have elections and I am grateful to live in the best country on the planet. We have an immigration problem, because so many want what we have. I don’t worry about the Islamic fascists or the local gangsters because most streets in America are safe. I have written before that my wife and I and many others have walked at Bucklin Park in the dark before sunrise, thousands of times, without incident. I feel secure. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know Who holds my future.

I realize that you may be taking a beating (literally or figuratively) by life right now. Thanksgiving for me is not a day, but a way of life. I hope that all is OK with you and your family, finances or future, but if not, I hope you have faith. If you want some of that, call me, and I will buy us a cup of coffee. Wait a minute: let’s make it a taco plate or burger combo. I think things are going to be OK so we can talk how we can increase your faith or maybe just have another Thanksgiving meal!