Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Doing what I don't want to do but ought to do

I'm having a rough time. It's almost Mother's Day and I miss my Mom. My Dad's passing has left me embroiled in a difficult and emotional legal action. Finances could be better. I've been feeling quite alone. I had hoped to be moved to Arizona by now. My list-of-reasons-to-feel-bad is growing like a weed on steroids.

So I suppose I could go on here at length about the trials of the spirit. I could wax on eloquently about the way that difficulty hones the edge of the soul or gab on relentlessly about the Pauline statement that we are "Made perfect through suffering". Or I could just moan in self-pitying tones. Or all of the above.

Instead I am going to do something I do not want to do, because whenever I really don't want to do it is when I should do it the most.

I am going to make a Gratitude List of at least 10 items. I need to take a crowbar to my peripheral vision in order to see my life accurately.

OK here it goes. You get to sit through this with me, or you can just float your eyes down to the bottom. Take your pick.

1. I am thankful to be alive. I am a cancer survivor, so this is not a trivial gratitude.

2. I am thankful that I had a good and loving Mother in my life for over 40 years. She was a hot ticket, and a lollapalooza in the love-your-kid department.

3. I am thankful for wonderful friends who really do love me, whom I love right back, and with whom I have long and rich histories.

4. I am thankful that I have enough resources for my little life.

5. I am thanlful for the ability to love others.

6. I am thankful for my faith.

7. I am thankful for the joys of Spring - flowers all around, my garden's beginnings, warmer days, more sun, happier birds.

8. I am thankful to be living in a constitutional democracy.

9. I am thankful for art.

10. I am thankful for the way a fresh tomato tastes with just a little salt.

11. I am thankful for having known the love of a few good pooches in my life.

OK I made it to 11. Can I stop now? Wow, when I am blue it is soooooooo hard to get this list going. But that is exactly what I need to do to not have my vision clouded by misfortune. Yes, my misfortunes are very real, but they are not the sum total of my life. The only way they get to occupy that lofty position is if I push away all the good things in my life. Or deny them.

Sadness can get us all upsie-down and inside-out because it is so seductive. Sadness is a jealous emotion, wanting to crowd out anything that might eclipse it. I know that about sadness, but only remember it when I am in the throes of gratitude.

So how am I today? The emotional forecast is mixed. Some showers / some sun.


Blogger Miss Eagle said...

You are right, misfortunes are not the sum total of our lives. We do have the capacity to define and redefine ourselves and who we are are. Doing this with God's input is the best way. As well, we need to see ourselves in the big picture - our misfortunes may be small (or not misfortunes at all) compared with those who have to scratch for the next meal or when one thinks of children living alone and looking after themselves because their nearest and dearest are dead from AIDS. There is a lot to be thankful for. I also find - I have precious little in the way of money, live on social security benefits, am ageing, no one (in spite of wonderful skills and experience) wants to give me a job - that I am rich in resources. I have come to think that this is often overlooked. I could be classed as "living in poverty" by some benchmarks. But that is not true. I do have resources and I am resourceful. Those truly in poverty not only do not have money they have no resources, nowhere to go, no way to pull themselves up and out, no way to live life with dignity. As well as gratitude, it might do us good to count the ways in which we really are rich and well-resourced.

6:30 PM  
Blogger P.S. (an after-thought) said...

I did a daily notebook for six months one time of what I am thankful for. It evolved a bit into a mini diary. But it does one good to pause and remember what is right and good, because it is too easy to dwell on the other stuff.

Especially when I put on CNN.

9:07 PM  
Blogger Maggie Rose said...

poverty of spirit is the worst of life.

poverty of economics is hard in its own right.

God promises us abundance--of love, of gratitude, of our days.

Mata, as I read your blog I saw such strength and determination to search out your blessings even as you hold an aching heart.

I am very happy to know that you had a mother who was a lollapalooza in the love-your-kid department.

Indeed a blessing!!

kind days to you,

btw: by chance this site came up and sort of addresses the same issues if you read their manifesto

The Cloud Appreciation Society

6:15 AM  
Blogger samtzmom said...

And, I am thankful for you, my friend, for your existence and spirit has so enhanced my own faith journey. You are such a very special soul. Your kindness and wisdom has touched so many lives. Just remember what a blessing you are to those around you...
Much love and many hugs.

6:57 AM  
Anonymous Pat Z. said...

Mata, What a great list! The idea to turn your attention and focus on the good things in life, how uplifting!

10:30 AM  
Blogger Rainbow dreams said...

I'm thankful for people like you reminding me of things like this - wishing you more sun than rain, Katie

4:14 PM  
Blogger Mata H said...

Dear Ladies -- I thank you and count you among my blessings.

I did like the cloud site - especially their commenrt "Don't be a Stranger. If you've got something to tell us, we'd love to hear it. But only if it is about clouds. Otherwise we're not interested."

Gotta love people that straightforward :-)

4:24 PM  
Blogger beth said...

Mata, I'd been here already and found it inspirational to do the same. And, no, I didn't get IRKED at you (but I love the word!) for pushing back a bit. Life is not worth the space we take up if we can't get honest with one another and give folks a little perspective now and then.

I thank you and appreciate you for the kick in the pants! I am generally content, but there are moments....

be blessed today!
(btw - I loved ALL the posts about your mom. Thanks for sharing....)

7:00 AM  

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