This is never a good time of year for me. It is dark and cold and gray and gloomy in my little corner of the world. I am not a fan of any of those words. I am determined that I will live on a sunny beach at some point in my near future, taking long walks to the sound of waves crashing onto shore, soaking up the warmth of the day on my bare shoulders. But for now, I am here, and I am full of undeserved self-pity. I am certain that my life is pointless and that I am in no way contributing to the well-being of any with whom I cross paths. I have, and it pains me to say this, crossed over to the dark side. That is so not me.
I shared my plight with friends. One suggested I hole up with a cozy blanket, a latte, and keyboard, and pour my thoughts onto the page. Another prompted me to start up a gratitude journal. Given that I preach gratitude, believe in the power of gratitude, and am fully aware of the health benefits of gratitude, it surprised me a bit that I had dug a spot in the graveyard of my mind and given it proper burial. Time, I think, to resurrect the dead. So, in my effort to focus on all that I have and not what I don’t, I share with you that for which I give thanks. As much, though, as I appreciate what you bring to this blog as reader, these words go a little higher up.
Blessed Father in Heaven,
Let’s get the formalities out of the way. Yes, I am thankful for my family and my friends and the fact that I am warm and fed and clothed, but there is so much more. You know this, but I will say it anyway.
I am thankful for the opportunity to teach and to write and to further my education. I am thankful, too, for the childhood into which I was born and for the fact that that childhood nearly ended almost before it had begun.
Every day you provide me opportunity to stand in front of others and make a difference. Isn’t this all any of us really want? Give me the words that others need to hear. Put before me those who need what I have to offer. Help me to show others what it is they have to offer and to encourage them to go out and use that to do your work. Let me be a light in the darkness. I am tempted, here, to break out into song. You know me. You know that I would do that. This little light of mine. I do so want to let it shine.
Every day you provide me opportunity to put to page the words you have given me. Every day you give me opportunity to move, motivate, encourage, inspire. Please give me the words that someone needs to hear. I know that what I say may not be needed now, but may be needed, instead, at some point down the road. I know that maybe my words will not speak to all, but may be for one. I am good with that. I am totally fine with it.
I have a friend now writing on his experience with cancer. His words move me. I know these words. I have seen them in my friends. I have seen them in my father. I am holding onto them. I may need them again. I pray that you give my friend guidance and strength and courage to face what it is that he will need to face. Be with him and guide him and comfort him. Comfort him with your love as he comforts me with his words.
I thank you for giving me the opportunity to further my education, an education I never thought would even begin let alone get to the point it has. I love school. I love everything about it. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn and to, in turn, share that experience with others.
I have heard that those who believe in past lifetimes believe that when we incarnate into physical form we choose the situation into which we are born. We choose the lessons that we will learn. We choose our parents. If this is so, I thank you for that choice. As an adult, I do not believe I would choose to be born into impoverished circumstance. The ridicule, the humiliation, the hardship is something no one ever can understand without experiencing and few would even acknowledge. As an adult, I would prefer to study the issue on an academic level. I am glad, though, for the cold nights and for the hunger when there was no food. I am glad for the loss and the loneliness and, even, yes, for the humiliation. Through this gift, you have given me strength. You have given me great compassion. You have put a love in my heart that is deep and real. Thank you. Thank you so much for that.
And thank you that you almost took it all away before it even had gotten started. Thank you for nearly taking this life when I was only six. I never gave that much thought. I’m sorry for that. I never gave it much thought until a friend nearly lost his own life some forty years later. How tragic, I thought, to lose such a wonderful opportunity. How tragic to not be on this earth to do your work, to spread your love, to help others to love themselves and to see what it is they have come to do. And, then, I remembered. I remembered that I nearly lost that opportunity myself, that I am here only because there is work I have yet to do.
And here I am sulking and complaining.
So I thank you. I thank you for the opportunity to teach, to write, to further my education. I thank you for my childhood and for the opportunity you give me each day to do what it is you have put me here to do.