This is the time of year people tend to find themselves feeling especially sad or especially joyful. When you’ve lost someone you love, it takes a lot of years to not feel sad at the special holidays and occasions. As a child, the sad part of the holidays comes when the gifts have been opened–either you didn’t get what you wanted and are ticked, or you liked all the gifts, but there are no more to open, nothing else to which you are looking forward. This is life.
This year, I’m feeling not much. I am so incredibly grateful for all of the ways I see God active in the lives of those I love, even if they don’t acknowledge his presence. There’s the happy. But I’m also realizing that each year, there are more people missing from my life. Of course, that alone reminds me of why I’m so darn glad that my mother moved to our town five years ago. Maybe this is where I should stop and make my gratitude list.
1. I am grateful I have a home, and I am grateful for the people who live in our home.
2. I am grateful that the members of my family love each other and are able to get along, for the most part.
3. I am grateful that the hard times in our lives have brought us to programs that help us accept things we can’t change, change things we can change, and recognize the difference between the two–all without getting bent out of shape.
4. I am grateful I spent my summer with a son and an uncle (albeit, an uncle by marriage, but an uncle nonetheless), and grateful to have learned so much about the strength of my marriage, my God, and my family because of the experience.
5. I am grateful to have made new friends because of the time spent in Texas, friends who have profoundly impacted my life in very positive ways.
6. I am grateful that my husband has become part of a band, with which he can enjoy playing music and the instruments he enjoys.
7. I am grateful that I knew David Goff.
8. I am grateful that I have clients and regular folks who like the work I do.
9. I am grateful that I can accept the fact that some friends come and go–and it is no reflection on the quality of person I am.
10. I am grateful that I have been able to be a part of a wonderful outreach ministry in my town at The Journey Home.
11. I am grateful to have so much information at my fingertips to help me make good choices about the food that goes into my body–and I’m grateful for a computer and wi-fi that connect me with almost any information I am seeking.
12. I am grateful that I can love people just the way they are.
13. I am grateful that honeysuckle and lilies smell so heavenly to me!
14. I am grateful that I am able to enjoy the water I like. (Yes, I like Fiji water)
15. I am grateful that I have a car that is able to get me from Point A to Point B and sometimes points not on the map.
16. I am grateful that I discovered the joy of Kundalini yoga.
17. I am grateful that we have dogs who love us and want simply to be loved…well, I will try to be grateful for being allowed the privilege of walking the dogs, but I’m not quite there.
18. I am grateful, however, that I am able to walk dogs–that I have mobility.
19. I am grateful that my husband love me and loves our children and that my children really do seem to love me.
20. I am grateful to have known some very wonderful people of great character in my life who are no longer living–John Black, Bernie Steen, Sr., David A. Goff.
Well, that’s not a bad start. I’m pretty fortunate to have so many things for which to be grateful, aren’t I? Some people call it being blessed, some call it luck of the draw. I call it life, and I’m learning to live life on life’s terms. I can embrace it and make the best of it, or I can shun all that isn’t good and happy and bury myself under the covers. I am choosing to be happy because life is so full of wonderful opportunities to find joy, to experience sadness that allows me to appreciate the importance of leaning on someone bigger than I. It hasn’t always been a pleasant ride, and there have been many times that I’ve wished I could get off the ride. I have discovered some of the greatest joys and freedoms as the result of some of the greatest pain. I would like to skip the pain in the future, but since it probably won’t avoid me altogether, it’s nice to know that there is a brighter day on the other side of the storm.
I think I’ll try to add to this list of gratitude items and maybe my list will give you pause for a few things on your own list.
Truth is a beautiful thing.
I am grateful.
Joy is the will which labors, which overcomes obstacles, which knows triumph.~ William Butler Yeats
Whether you think you can or think you can’t you’re right. - Henry Ford
The best way out is always through. ~ Robert Frost
Real difficulties can be overcome, it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable. ~ Theodore N. Vail
Success consists of getting up just one more time than you fall. ~ Oliver Goldsmith
You must be the change you want to see in the world. - Mahatma Gandhi