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Why do some people breeze through life seemingly with no problems? Why are some people thin and never have to consider what they eat? Why do some people suffer what seem like more than their fair share of life’s tougher issues, and others don’t?

Who knows — only God, I guess. At any rate, God is the one I have to trust, believing that there’s a reason for suffering, that he has a plan for each of us, and is willing to go on the journey with us, if we ask him.

My niece was born with a birth defect. You’d never know from looking at her, but at age 40 she’s had about the same number of surgeries, and they’re never easy or straight-forward. She’s had far more than her share of pain, not because of the defect, but because of the surgeries necessary and how they have affected her body. The doctors have been great — no fault there. It’s just a continuous problem she lives with daily.

My niece was also born with the kindest, sunniest disposition that one can have. She has a beautiful smile, and uses it often to warm people’s lives: her family, her patients (she’s a nurse), and friends. She doesn’t complain, and continually pushes herself to be the best possible person and professional she can be. Giving in to her health problems is not an option for her; she lives life to the fullest and has a gift of helping others, listening with empathy, and offering sound and caring advice.

I admire her fortitude, her love of life and those in it, and her determination. I just wish she’d get some health breaks, and not have to suffer the pain I know she live with amidst her busy life.

As she recovers from yet another surgery, tougher than expected (as usual), I wish her speedy recovery. I know her faith is strong, and God is at her side.

Bless her.