Dr Mari’s Health & Hope Corner: September 2011
Amaryllis Sánchez Wohlever, MD
Years ago I gave my husband a small gift that became a huge blessing. After going through major surgery, Russ was pretty down, especially knowing he’d be in the hospital for another week. I left for the night to go care for our toddler and stumbled upon a book sale at the hospital’s lobby. As I walked away, a pocket-size, green book caught my eye. Life’s Extras, by Archibald Rutledge. Though I’d never heard of the book or its author, something made me buy it. I returned upstairs and left it at Russell’s bedside, along with a wife’s loving prayer for comfort and peace.
When I arrived the next day, I found a new man. Still holding Life’s Extras, my husband went on to relate the impact this little book had on his outlook. The simple stories about life, redemption, and blessing touched him so deeply that all sadness and apprehension disappeared in an instant. Russ explained the meaning of the title. Life’s “extras” are those things God gave us that were, in a sense, unnecessary. Like color. Dew. A rainbow. And what the author experiences as scores of sunsets in a day, for every second the sky changes and a brand new scene appears. The hope in a single bud, laughter, bubbles. Simple things that we often take for granted. All life’s extras.
Life’s extras are God’s gifts of grace – given, quite simply, to bless us. In the midst of our struggles, God gives us rainbows to remind us that you often need both sunshine and rain for the best of life to emerge. He also gives us friends who love us and put up with our bad jokes. He gives us children who make us giggle and act silly when we’d rather cry. He gives us a world full of color and light, that we may enjoy the journey, share it with those we love, and walk through tough times with hope.
These stress management tips from the American Academy of Family Physicians include a recommendation to become more present to each moment so we don’t miss “life’s small pleasures.” Appreciating the small things helps us become less self-centered and more grateful. Beware of our multi-tasking, artificially-connected society. You might get a lot of “stuff” done and know what your “friends” are doing every hour, but you may be missing out on those life’s extras right in front of you that would increase your joy, gratitude and peace.
So let us return to the simple and consider life’s extras. This very moment. Like Russell did years ago, we can choose to live lives of blessing – regardless of our circumstances. We can resolve to become a blessing as we rejoice in the gifts all around us, especially the gift of this present moment.
Thankful for life’s extras,
About Dr Mari (Amaryllis Sánchez Wohlever, MD):
I am a pastor’s wife and the mother of three wonderful children who continually bless me. My life was transformed twelve years ago through a heartfelt prayer on my knees. Since then, my work as a family doctor turned into a ministry as I learned to care for people from the heart. I strive to care for the soul and minister to the spirit while treating the body.
As a doctor, I’ve served as chief resident and as president of the Florida Association of Family Practice Residents. I received the AMA Achievement Award, the AAFP Foundation Teacher Development Award, the Psychiatry Clinical Excellence & Research Award from The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and the Distinguished Graduate Award from the US Air Force Commissioned Officer Training, among others. However, awards and recognition left my soul feeling empty, and I began to pursue a simpler, more fulfilling life of genuine service from the heart. My greatest joy now comes from knowing God and making Him known, sharing life with my loving husband and beautiful children, and from continually pursuing opportunities to share the gift of hope. Like Mother Teresa urged, I now live to do “small things with great love.”
DISCLAIMER: Dr Mari’s articles offer inspiration and general information and should not be taken as professional advice. For specific advice regarding your situation, contact a health care provider, psychologist, spiritual director or other relevant professional. These articles are not intended to replace or in any way conflict with the advice you receive from these professionals. The ultimate decisions regarding your emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical health should be made between you and such professionals. Do not disregard or delay obtaining advice from a professional because of something you may have read here.