Posted by Kathleen Pooler/@kathypooler
“In this life there is nothing that is truly yours to give. Instead, you must learn to receive the blessings of life gratefully and share these gifts with others in order to experience the beautiful phenomenon of gratitude.” ~Sadhgura
The Blessing of Gratitude: A Memoir Moment
I’ve been through a rough time lately and I’m trying to sort it out. As I face the reality of doing daily peritoneal dialysis in the long haul, I’m grappling with the changes in my health that often leave me feeling depleted, physically and emotionally.
In essence, the honeymoon is over.
As I stand at this crossroads of a new normal, there’s no sense denying it. In all honesty, I am grieving what once was in terms of a feeling of well-being and independence.
Sitting with this grief makes me realize two things. First, I don’t like how it feels and second, I have a choice on what I do with today and the rest of my life.
I can honor my feelings in the moment but I don’t have to stay here and wallow in the negativity.
I want to get out of this rut I’m in —appreciate that I do have this lifesaving option as tedious as it is—and get on with my life in whatever shape it has taken.
But how do I move forward from this point?
As with any life challenge, I instinctively turn to my faith to give me strength to endure and power through the disappointments and unexpected turns. I journal, pray, read scripture, do healing touch sessions and allow myself to feel what I feel.
Feelings are neither right nor wrong. They just are.
Living in Gratitude…
Since Thanksgiving Day is this week for my fellow Americans, it occurs to me that gratitude is a timely topic. But then I wonder,
Why does it take an external event like Thanksgiving to focus on the blessings of gratitude in our lives?
I can think of a million reasons to be grateful all year around. My blessings far outweigh my trials and all I have to do is stop and think about where I’ve been and where I am now to get in touch with these blessings.
There are many ways to nurture gratitude–a gratitude journal, a gratitude jar, a gratitude list, a kindness extended to someone in need. I don’t have to do much to get in touch with my gratitude.
The Blessing of Gratitude…
Life’s Second Chances
For starters, twenty-one years ago in 1996 around this time of year, I was diagnosed with late stage Non-Hodgkins’ Lymphoma and wondered if I would survive.
How can I forget that breathing was a conscious effort back then?
What a gift it is to be able to breathe without giving it a thought, a gift of another chance at life.
The truth is I’m still here, and these past twenty-one years have been the happiest ones of my life.
Then there was the visit two years ago that my daughter Leigh Ann and I made to say goodbye to my mother in the hospital. She was diagnosed with the same lymphoma I had. When we arrived, she was pale and struggling to breathe. We hovered over her with deep sadness but also with deep gratitude to have this sacred time with her.
Loving hands honoring the cycle of life, 2015
The other day, my post- “Mom, Hope and Miracles”- from that time popped up in my Facebook memories as a reminder of another blessing, more precious time with my elderly mom, another chance at life.
Still able to make memories…
My children, Leigh Ann and Brian visit Grammy, 2017
There are many more gifts on my gratitude list but these two are enough to jolt me out of my rut. When I focus on the gifts, I don’t have time to dwell on the disappointments and limitations.
I have things to do, people to see, grandkids to hug, books to publish. I need to negotiate my way around the current realities and limitations and get on with it. It’s tough for an independent woman to relinquish control, but accepting what is will help me make the most of what will be. I want to put my energy and time into today and tomorrow not waste it on what could have been.
When I focus on what’s working rather than on what’s not working, I’m in a much better position to keep moving forward.
Thank you for listening!
I needed to step away from doing and just be in the moment with this. I know I’m not alone. We all have our challenges and disappointments and it takes a disciplined effort to work through it.
As you gather around the table with family and friends this Thanksgiving Day and everyday, may you have gratitude for all that is working in your life.
How about you? How do you get unstuck from a rut of negative thinking? How does gratitude work in your life?
I’d love to hear from you. Please join in the conversation below~
“Shame: How Culture and Religion are Internalized: A WOW Blog Tour with Memoirist Dr Leona Stucky”
Dr Stucky is the author of Fog of Faith: Surviving My Impotent God, a Mennonite memoir about surviving abuse.
“The Story Behind My Memoir,Getting Rid of Ian by Penelope James”
Pennie is the author of Getting Rid of Ian: A Memoir of Poison, Pills and Mortal Sins.
November 2017 Newsletter: Monthly Updates, Memoir Musings, and Max Moments:
“The Season of Gratitude”
If you want to receive this monthly newsletter in your inbox, please sign up in the right side bar. I’d love to have you along!