I'm participating in Ten Things of Thankful, a blog hop that asks us to "focus on the good things going on in your life by listing ten things you are thankful for today..."
This has been a tough week, a very dear friend who has been fighting a very aggressive form of cancer learned that the battle is over, and there is nothing more to be done. It is hard to come to terms with that when you are only 53. It is hard for his wife to come to terms with too. They are each other's everything. It is not about my sense of loss in seeing this wonderful man having his body give out piece by piece, it is about my grief for them and also the knowledge that losing someone you love can happen to any of us any time, even when least expected. It hits too close to home. Not sleeping very well last night, I woke up tired and sad, and thought "How can I think of positive things, happy things to write for my thankfulness list today with such a heavy heart?"
Then something happened... As I began to read through other folks blog posts and Facebook posts, and read the comments they've left on mine, I felt my spirits lifting... I felt the love began to flow. Then the answers to what I am thankful for came easy...
1) I'm thankful for the people who bless and brighten my life in so many ways! The power of words or photos or even captioned cartoons, to lift up my spirits, to reinforce my sense of kinship, and to encourage me on my journey is amazing! Because of all the wonderful people that interact in my life, I need never feel alone. That is truly the greatest blessing of all!
2) I am thankful that God has given me the ability to care deeply, and to love deeply. Sometimes it is puzzling, wondering why it is that I become so emotionally involved in other people's struggles and suffering. I know that it would be far easier to be like some folks I know who just don't really care much about anyone but themselves and their own personal drama. But then return to #1 above, and I am grateful that God can use me, too, to reach out to others and hopefully be a positive moment in their lives as well. I have always felt my sense of connection to all others very strongly. It serves me well in my job and in my life. I am grateful that I feel and that I care, even if at times it hurts.
3) I am grateful that I am not too formal, or too afraid, or too distant to say "I care about you" or "I am praying for you" even when it comes to people that I don't know very well. I encountered this several times this week in phone conversations with clients at work. Many of them are near my age, I identify well with their situations, and my heart often breaks at the struggles they are facing just to survive. I remind myself to take the time to treat them as people, not just clients or case #s. I listen, I express my concern and my caring. I am thankful that I believe in putting "The Golden Rule" into practice. It does not take more time or energy to be kind, it just takes the effort to turn it into a habit.
4) I am thankful for a new lesson that has been nudging at me lately, based on something I read on someone's blog (and I wish I remembered where). It is about asking yourself, when you are noticing something negative about another person, what it is you wish for them - do you hope they succeed or do you hope they will fail. What is it that you really want? And why? Do we sometimes secretly enjoy seeing others fail because it makes us feel better about our own failures, or superior if we succeed? I am starting to remember to ask myself before I criticize or condemn, what is it that I really want for this person, and what is it that God would have me want? I am making adjustments!
5) I am so very grateful for a husband who trusts me infinitely and never once doubts my motives or behavior. An incident occurred at work yesterday with a coworker and her spouse, that served as a flashback to a I life I led before, and how emotionally damaging it is to have a spouse that is incapable of trust. In talking with her, I was able to help her see at least a little bit that his attitude is not because she is somehow flawed or at fault in being unable to convince him that she is trustworthy (she is that beyond a doubt, I would put my paycheck on that) but rather is based on his own inner beliefs and insecurities that have brought him to a place where he is suspicious of everything and not able to discern who is trustworthy from who is not. Trust is essential in a good, loving relationship.
6) I am so very thankful for a husband that says "I'm sorry", and who listens and believes me when I say "I'm sorry" on the rare occasions when we have crossed words and hurt feelings. We never, ever let those things become a barrier between us or the love we feel for each other. We both feel true remorse if we hurt the other unintentionally or because we are tired and impatient. Issues get resolved quickly, and are not ignored or left to fester. Saying "I'm sorry" is a gift to be given freely.
7) I am thankful that my home is my refuge and my place of peace. I am thankful that I have a real home to come home to... a place where I belong and where I am loved. I remember what it is like to dread coming home, to dread weekends spent together, and to wish that I could be anywhere else. I love my little box house in the weed patch in West Texas. I love the beautiful blue color my husband chose for the walls... the color of blue skies... peaceful! I love that we were able to choose all the colors in our house together, that we agree on so many things we like, that we appreciate each other's tastes.
8) I am thankful for lessons I learned growing up that I didn't even realize I had been taught, until much later, sometimes only realizing that now, when I take a moment to think about it! Lessons like conducting yourself with integrity, making your word count, being accountable for your actions, being responsible, being strong, and becoming involved when it needs to be done, even if it would be easier not to do so. I am thankful that I lived in a home where good values were taught by example, even if it wasn't a perfect home, or a perfect family, or a perfect life. I am blessed in what was good.
9) I am thankful that I am learning that all situations and encounters in life has some good in them. That doesn't mean that the cup is always half-full or the sun is always shining, or even that good will always triumph. It means that if we look hard at those times, we can see something good that came out of it, some lesson learned, some encounter that was important, or someone that cared about us. I am so very grateful that God is helping me learn to count my blessings! I am grateful for opportunities such as this, that give me reason to reflect on what is positive in my life, and to share it with others, hopefully encouraging them to do the same.
10) I am thankful for chocolate! Yes, this is a light finish to a "deep thoughts" list, but it is so true! What would life be like without that bit of pleasure, that thought of comfort, that reason to smile? If you think about it, life has many little bright spots like that, simple pleasures, that are oh so very nice... right within my range as I sit here in my rocking chair (yes, really, a rocking chair... the old fashioned wooden kind, that my back loves) I see pieces of chocolate candy with liquid centers, an ice-cold glass of tea, slumbering furkids of assorted sizes, shapes, and colors... all purring, my cellphone lighting up with sweet little text notes from my husband who is at work, sunlight streaming through my windows, a wind chime tinkling softly from the cool breeze of the ceiling fan above, and other than that there is blessed quiet... ahhhhh!
Life is good my friends, and I hope you take time to see the good things in your life today! Wishing all of you an awesome weekend and a week ahead with blessings too many to count!
~Share your blessings with us at Ten Things of Thankful~
And if you enjoy writing... join us at Two Shoes Tuesday this coming week!