Gratitude

I’ve been trying to be more consciously grateful in my daily life.  I’m truly blessed and need to focus on the good, not the bad.  I’ve had such a dark storm cloud hanging over my head and heart for such a huge part of 2014.  I’ve got to make a conscious effort to try to get out from under it.  I can’t control everything but I can control my emotional responses to a lot of it.  Additionally I’ve stifled my emotions for so long and closed myself off from friends, family and loved ones so they haven’t always felt truly connected to me.  As I’ve been going through all this crap over the last seven months I’ve let a lot of people in, opened the kimono and let them see a lot of my inner thoughts and feelings but a lot of those have been negative.  New revelations about the past, deeper understandings of my fears and history, etc. 

I’ve wanted to change that.  Not only with old friends, but with new people who’ve come into my life this year.  They’ve seen me at my lowest, my worst so far, I want to show them me at my best.  Let them know that I’m not all doom and gloom. 

There’s been this thing on Facebook.  I don’t know, nor do I need to know the details, but people have been talking about what they’ve been grateful for in their lives that day and “tagging” others to do the same.  I stole some of that and made it my own.  This past week I’ve been randomly picking someone from my friends list each day and discussing three things that I’m grateful for about that specific person. 

I’m not going to copy them all here, go look on my FB feed for that.  But I did want to give an example and highlight one specifically, since she started as a blog friend:

Today there’s three things that I’m grateful for about Lori:

1) That we’ve become such good friends outside of the blogosphere.
2) That she’s such a generous woman of action, starting various non-profits to help soldiers and was kind enough to send care packages to me and mine while deployed. She’s truly been a force for good in the world.
3) That in coming to me for a window into the mind of a soldier she helped me sort out the chaotic mess in my head from multiple deployments and re-integrations. By explaining the oddities of military life to her I had to actually stop reacting to things all the time and come to some level of understanding of what I was going through/went through in order to explain it to her so she could support her son and fellow loved ones through what they were going through. This was a very unique gift she gave me. And then years later, when I was ready, she helped me process more, to more deeply understand the impact my service had on me and my friends and family. She was able (and willing to) give me that view of the other side of the coin, a better understanding of what it was like to be the one left at home. To be the one who had to try and figure out what, if anything they could do to help someone fit back in after multiple deployments and to have to watch them cope with their struggles.

 
Lori delivered the perfect response:
 
I also feel blessed that we have become such good friends. You have been a gift and a Godsend in my life also, when I was scared out of my wits about what my son was going through, and how to be there for him, and others. You explained the acronyms, calmed my nerves, educated, and inspired me. Our organization continued to grow and add to its mission when you shared with me that you had a soldier or two that never got mail. I could. not. imagine. Now, years later, you are still so kind and patient with my questions. I am honored and thrilled to have been a positive aspect of your life, and that you never found me taxing. (Or, never admitted it.) xo
 
It’s been a fun exercise so far, it forces me to stop and be mindful about my relationship with all of these various people.
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