"Can you be truly grateful for
in your life?
Even the circumstances, situations
and/or people that are challenging?
Here it is 2:00pm on Thanksgiving day. I am up, showered and dressed. I've walked the dog, made stuffing, peeled potatoes and stuck my hand elbow deep into a turkey carcass. Oh, happy day!
About five last night I started flying around the house like a winged monkey in the Wizard of Oz. I frantically, vacuumed the whole house. I got down on my knees to clean cat puke stains that have mocked me for a month. I let the sweat drip off my brow like I'd run a marathon as I wondered what was wrong with me. Then I had the tiniest of flashbacks to a time after I'd first been diagnosed with depression.
I'd been laying around worrying my mother about my moodiness for days. All of a sudden as if stuck in the butt with a cattle prod, I got all crazy about cleaning my room. And when my poor mother ventured in to see what was going on, I let her have it. I was angry. Really mad. Mom was the person who took the brunt, thinking I'm sure I probably needed an exorcism.
What was I angry about? I haven't a clue. Maybe I couldn't find a sock. Or maybe my bed sheets were ruffled. What I know now is depression is often anger turned inside where it can simmer. Then one day when you least expect it, a volcano of emotions erupts and comes spewing out. It doesn't doesn't really need an earthquake tremor to start it, just one more itty bitty insignificant nudge.
Ahh, I told myself yesterday. I'm feeling angry. And my anger fueled me into action, at least for an hour or so. In that hour, I accepted the anger for what it was. Nodded my head to all the reasons I feel angry when the calendar and TV ads are telling me I'm supposed to be feeling grateful. Even when I am grateful, I know its luster is a little dimmed by the anger that buts up against it. I decided as I vacuumed, I was going to cook a turkey and all the fixings even if it's just Sweetie and I that eat it. His idea of starting a new tradition by eating at Boca de Pepo just felt less right than sitting at an empty table. Does it sound like I'm crazy? It feels a little like I am. But at the same time, I kind of feel like I'm getting closer to saneness than I would be if I did nothing.
I get a message from "The Daily Love" every morning. Yesterday I read an article by Christine Hassler that challenged me to feel grateful for everything - not just the tangible or good things. What? I'm supposed to feel grateful that I can't remember important stuff, that I bite my Sweetie's head off because MY side of the office looks like a paper bomb exploded and I can't find what I'm looking for on HIS side of the office? I'm supposed to feel grateful that my foot hurts, the dog poos in the house and the birds fling seed on the floor I just cleaned? Seriously, am I supposed to feel grateful my father died and left me feeling abandoned, scared and purpose-less?
Hassler's answer to those questions would be yes. "Instead of thinking something else would be better, move into faith that what is happening is what you actually need the most even if it doesn't feel like it. Trust me, if things were supposed to go differently they would have."
Aha! Lightbulb moment: What happened to your trust and faith, Merry ME?
In another Daily Love message, Rachel Sat Siri Dogherty in her article Gratitude for it All! wrote:
- "There is always great sadness and great joy existing simultaneously in life.
- That relationships with their deep and profound commitment, require the same trust of the unknown that every other area of lie demands.
- There is always great light and great darkness in one's life.
- Tears move to laughter. Stillness transforms into great activity."
Lightbulb reminder: There you go, Merry Me, the ying and the yang, the ups and downs, the blacks and whites of life are ever-changing. You must learn to go with the flow and perhaps live in the middle.
And one more thought. This one by Alana Sheeren: "Be honest where you're at." [That of course, assumes you know where you're at!] The intensity of grief does not last forever but it is what you're living with right now, and it can resurface powerfully at times like these. The more you're able to be present with your emotions, the more you give the people around you permission to do the same. As challenging as that can be for everyone, it is also a gift."
Light shining in the darkness moment: The intensity of grief does not last forever, Merry Me. So take your little one's hand, let her know you're a team. She's not alone and neither are you. Your life is full. Find a reason to be grateful for all of it.
Today I am grateful for the memories of people who are no longer with me in body or spirit. People who challenged me, inspired me, made me cry and made me laugh. People who loved me the best they could. People who lit my path by holding my hand in the darkness.
Wishing for you a very blessed and grateful holiday,
"Gorging on Gratitude" Christine Hassler.com, 11/23/2011
"Gratitude for it All!" Rachel Sat Siri Dogherty, TheDailyLove.com/gratitude-fo-it-all/
Picking Up the Pieces thoughts from Life After Benjamin" Alana Sheeren, LifeAfterBenjamin.com