LIVING WITH GRATITUDE

Gratitude

It is often so much easier to complain than to be thankful. For some, it can become a habit; a habit of negativity that is more addicting than nicotine or alcohol. I’ve found it is impossible to be deeply depressed when you are grateful for something…anything. It doesn’t have to be a big item. Most of the power of gratitude actually lies in the small, everyday experiences. These are the tiny items we tend to look past, every day; a flower that just burst into bloom as a riot of orange with a yellow heart, a tiny bird hopping through the sprinkler or a dog chasing a ball or its own tale. There’s so much joy in the carefree romp and lope of a dog when they run with pleasure, or a kitten ripping around a circle of yarn on the floor.

You know that feeling of dread when we have lab work drawn or an X-ray performed?  When the results come back negative, we’re pleased, but that true feeling of gratitude doesn’t last for long, does it. Often, we think we have nothing to be grateful for, but that is never true.

You can be grateful it’s raining outside because the ground needs rain or you can be grateful for the sunny day without a cloud in the sky. The weather and gratitude is a rather relative thing, depending on each of us and where our feet are planted and our own health. Gratitude for the “big money” items like God, love and peace, well, they’re sort of obscure unless we get down to the specifics. Gratitude is very personal and appeals to the heart of our being and is therefore different from person to person.

It helps me to know God is love. Your face often brightly glows when you love someone else, love yourself or just love your surroundings. The emotion of love is a feel good ticket item. If you or I love just one person in our lives, we should be grateful and show appreciation not only to that person or persons but to our creator. It’s the most joyous of all the emotions. Certainly, there is also heartache in loving someone, but is it really love? We’ll ponder that one. Sometimes love can be disguised as something else. It can be lust, vanity or just plain chemistry. Sympathy or need can masquerade as love as can a hundred other human needs. It can appear as love for a blooming Gerber daisy, a deer walking across the street in grand style while all the traffic stops out of respect for him or love for a golden/orange sunset. There is much to love and be grateful for in this wonderful world. The conductor/musician Arthur Rubinstein said, “I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.”

Let me add my own version of that by saying, if you love life, then life will have your back.

I find I am often so grateful for the innocents in my life because their very presence in my life brings laughter, light-heartedness and joy. Our children, our grandchildren and our pets all come to mind as the innocents in life. Certain friends can offer an unqualified love and therefore gratitude. Sometimes just the thought and projected periods of the early years or the anticipation of a treasured memory can bring gratitude. My daughter and son-in-law and their children are waiting to bring a new chocolate lab female puppy into their home in two weeks. They already love her. She is already real to them. She is also a relative of their dear Herb, their chocolate lab they lost last year. We were chuckling this morning to know the pup is already three times larger than our little Yorkie, George. The dogs will be great friends once he decides the only threat she poses to him is stepping on his tiny feet. There is joy in all those thoughts and I am grateful for that. Joy and gratitude are most definitely in the eyes of the beholder.

I am not grateful for cancer, chronic pain and disabling conditions but I am grateful for all the wonderful friends I have made both in my nursing and writing careers. I can hate the diseases but love the experiences because they have taken me to loving and kind physicians and fellow nurses, radiation technicians and lab personnel.  It’s wonderful how we can pick love out of the trash heap of life and somehow that makes the bad times more palatable.

Sometimes we can love memories almost as much as we loved the event when it was occurring. There’s a cute story by James W. Moore from his book, Some folks feel the rain; others just get wet. He tells the story of a man who got lost in the country and got his car deeply stuck in the mud. He walked to a nearby farm to get some help. The farmer said, “Warwick can get you out of that ditch.”

He pointed to an old mule as being Warwick. The man who was stuck in the ditch had doubts looking at old Warwick. The man whose car was stuck in the mud figured he didn’t have anything to lose and watched as the farmer hooked old Warwick up to a rope and then to his car. The farmer snapped the reins and shouted, “Pull, Fred! Pull, Jack! Pull, Ted! Pull, Warwick!”

The old mule pulled the car from the muddy ditch with very little effort. This, of course, amazed the car owner. He had to ask, “Why did you call out all those other names before you called Warwick?”

The old farmer smiled and said, “Old Warwick is just about blind. As long as he believes he’s part of a team he doesn’t mind pulling.”

Now, that mule had a memory that saw him through and it was the sweet memory of being part of a team. Those memories were as real to him as his long lost mule buddies.

Each of us, in spite of what we are experiencing is not alone. You and I by the very nature of this blog are part of a team. There is much strength in team work. Our team can number into the thousands…millions. We have our families, our health care providers, dear friends and all of us who also suffer to muster a very strong team. Team work is a wonderful thing. Be grateful. A friend calling to check on us, a giggling grandchild, and a hug from a spouse and so the list of gratitude grows. In turn, calling a friend in need, giving a hug or giggling with a grandchild can also be a greater cause for gratitude.

It took us four years to sell our home in California, 16 years ago. Our daughter was already up here, building her life and career alone. I was trapped in one of the hottest places in CA with a terrible reaction to the sun and the sundial seemed to be moving at a snail’s pace. We kept having Open Houses and because of my health issues, they were difficult. I baked cookies so the house would smell enticing. I wiped slobber off of walls from our 150 pound Saint Bernard shaking her sweet head, I weeded the garden by lamplight in the evenings to avoid the sun and still no buyer came along. The market was glutted with new homes and we were one of many in a downward spiraling real estate property mess. I was so very grateful when a buyer came along, I promised my maker I would say a prayer of gratitude each time I drove across the Columbia River to buy groceries, each time I enjoyed a beautiful sunset and each time it rained. I haven’t forgotten that promise these many years later and I still utter a prayer of gratitude for all of the beauty that surrounds me each day.

Make a goal of uttering the magical words, “Thank you,” each day.

156 thoughts on “LIVING WITH GRATITUDE

  1. O good ,on here, tried for a few days and nowt
    Sent sue an email
    Hope all going good
    Shorty as off to drs then to ..le hut . As Jennie calls it ,for a nite.weather not to good here
    My IBS is starting up again started tabs for it
    Will post when can
    Chris

  2. Oh Sue those burns sound so very painful. I remember how excruciating debridement and skin grafting was on my arm (a mere 7 cm diameter) – I cant imagine how your whole chest and underarm must feel. Prayers for much relief and quick healing!
    The tasks at home are bugging you I’m sure. Maybe hiring someone to do a one-time cleaning on your house to catch up would help? Bibbidy-bobbidy-boo! All done..
    Take care of YOU, my dear! The rest will work out. ❤

  3. Yea what a good idea of Annie’s sue.
    Probably not just as you like it but will do till you feel like getting at it…..or maybe it will be good .either way you would feel easier about it being done
    I expect all things are tough right now for you …but this is early days in healing
    Thinking of you
    How’s our Tonie too
    Chris

  4. IF I REMEMBER CORRECTLY SUE DOES NOT WANT SOMEONE IN HER HOUSE CLEANING. LITTLE BY LITTLE SHE WILL GET THERE. HOPE YOU PAIN IS A LITTLE LESS TODAY THAN IT WAS YESTERDAY SUE. I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND SOMEONE COMING IN TO CLEAN IS NOT YOUR CUP OF TEA. I FEEL THE SAME WAY.
    SENDING YOU HEALING PRAYERS AND ANGELS MY DEAR FRIEND. YOU TAKE CARE OF YOU AND I’M SURE YOUR DH IS A BIG HELP TOO.
    LOVE YOU TO THE MOON AND BACK.
    XXX

    • You’re right Suzanne, i remember that about Sue because I don’t want it either. I am sure she will work it out. We will just keep sending prayers and positive thoughts for her. You take care. Janet

  5. Flaming Norah…there I am…….hope you are all ok, been following the comments but not felt well enough to sit and type, so I prayed for you all. Sue, I have written to you briefly, but in case you don’t get it, I just want to say what I always do, you matter more than the state of the house, it will still be there, quality of life and comfort is more important, sod what anyone thinks…..I love you. x
    Tonie, Suzanne, Lyn and Chris…..have a good day, and for everyone I may have forgotten ANNIE….sorry, will catch up soon.
    Love you guys…….Jennie xx

      • Ha Tonie!! Its a Northern expression mainly, but heard a few Southerners using it too……good to be back me old darlin’ how is it with you? Do you know my lovely Mom is 91yrs old today, back in the Netherlands where she hangs out, she will be entertaining from 10-30am to 9pm tonight…..knowing her she will probably go out for a jog after that, to wind down….ha ha!! Oh what I would give for half her health and energy.Our Summer so far has not been great Tonie, for sitting out that is, but for the produce…wow, got masses of everything, especially spuds, and the taste is amazing…..how about you? what are you picking that’s ready? How is yur shoulder now love?………have a good day, love ya……….Jennie poo xx

  6. Chris and all:
    I am doing fine. Set up at a flea market yesterday all day long and I am paying the price today. I am not sure if it is worth the money no matter how much I need it :). However, I do so enjoy them, seeing all the people and talking with em. No strangers for me ! So made a little cash and had fun. So resting tonight. Take care all
    Love
    Tonie

    • Jennie:
      Glad your garden is doing well. My potatoes are probably doing well, just haven’t dug any up yet. If I can keep that blamed deer away, I may have some tomatoes ! I sprayed the plants all down with pepper sauce dilution the other night, then put lime on them. But we had a good rain last night so it is probably all washed away again. It is very hot and muggy here today. I am staying inside in the AC doing very little but resting. When it cools down this evening I will go out and do some things. Trip to the Dr tomorrow and get set up for another surgery maybe. Shoulder one is healing nicely. If I behave 🙂 . Take care and send a Happy Birthday to your mum !!
      Love
      Tonie

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