How Fortunate

The word Fortunate is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as:

1. Having good luck, lucky.

2. Bringing, or coming by, good luck; favorable; auspicious.

Fortunate comes from the word Fortunatus.  It was originally a Roman proper name turned into Greek (Phortounatos). It is the same as the Latin adjective fotunatus, meaning “blest,” or “fortunate.”

The reason that I bring this up is that I have taken a lot of time lately to reflect, and the one word that keeps popping into my head is fortunate.  Not so much the “having good luck” or the being “lucky” version, but more of the original Latin version of being “blest.” image

I drove up to Saginaw this past weekend for a family reunion.  It was my mom’s side of the family and this was the 78th year for the reunion.  As I made the almost two hour drive to where the reunion was being held I was reminiscing about years past.

I’ve been able to attend the majority of these events for the past 55 years.  I thought back to when I was maybe 7, 8, or 9 years old.  All the Aunts and Uncles, cousins, parents, and grandparents.  How they looked to me as a child.  There was always a lot of laughter and joking going on.  Along with some crying and reminiscing of years gone by and relatives that were no longer with us.

I thought about this year’s reunion as I made the drive.  My mom would not be there.  My grandmother would not be there.  Nor my uncle Don or my cousin David.  Nor countless other relatives that were no longer here.

I was filled with sadness for a while but the more I thought about it and the more the memories kept coming back, the more joyful and uplifting the drive became.  I came to realize how fortunate I am.  Not just because of this reunion and all the family and relatives that have touched my life over the years, but for everything.

– How fortunate (blest) I am I have been able to spend the time that was allotted with my parents and grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins.
– How fortunate (blest) I am to have Janet, a wonderful wife, friend and partner of 32 years.
– How fortunate (blest) I am to have John and Jennifer, two beautiful children.  My son-in-law Mike, and our grandson, Lucian.
– How fortunate (blest) I am to wake up every morning.  A gift that only He can provide.
– To be able to go to work and shine shoes.
– To say hello to people with a smile and hopefully brighten somebody’s day.
– How fortunate (blest) I am every time my heart beats one more time, or I take in one more breath.
– How fortunate (blest) I am to be alive.

imageI’ve come to realize that I should take nothing for granted.  Tomorrow is not promised to us and every moment is a gift.  God allows us to be here for a reason, for a purpose.  Only He knows what that reason or purpose is and it is up to us to be thankful for every moment that we have and to use each of these moments for His glory.

It is comforting (to me) to know that someday I will get to see my relatives again in a better place.  A place that has been promised to us.  A place that will last for eternity.  Sometimes that is hard to imagine.  I get so caught up in what I want to do today, what I want to have, that I forget that all of this is just temporary anyway.  None of this is going with me.  It all stays here.

I thank God daily for everything that He provides for me and the time that He has given me on this planet.  I thank Him for how fortunate (blest) I have been.  I thank Him for 78 years of the “Shay Family Reunion” and for His promise of a reunion to come unlike anything that I could possibly imagine.

I thank Him right now for the ability to put into words how grateful I am to be a part of His family.  Something that I could not have done or would not have done just a few short years ago.

I asked everyone at our family reunion this past weekend to take a moment, when they had the chance, and to close their eyes and think back over the years to some of their memories of the reunion.  I am asking you imageall right now to take a moment, when you have the chance, and close your eyes and think about what it is you are thankful for.

How fortunate (blest) we all are.

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.”

God bless you all,

John Early




John Early
The ShoeShine Guy

7 thoughts on “How Fortunate

  1. We are fortunate (blest) that we can make good memories for future generations as well. Thank you for your blogs, they’re inspiring.

  2. John: I thought this was great. Not many people can, or would, write such a thoughtful note. Unfortunately, i didn’t respond, and then I sort of forgot. I wish all the cousins, and aunts and uncles would feel the same way as you.. I certainly do. I was 3 when the first Shay Reunion began in 1936, and I don’t think I’ve missed more than 7 or 8 since then. I knew all the brothers and sisters of your mother’s dad, Jack Shay – and all the family that sprouted from them. My grandmother, Bellle Shay Garver, was Jack’s sister. Anyway, you and Janet are a welcome sight every year, See you in August.
    Otto Sonefeld

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