I’ve always leaned toward thankfulness. 

I believe it’s part of my DNA.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard my Dad say a pessimistic word.  If there is a bright side, he will find it and make sure you see it, too.  I remember sometime during my late high school or early college years, Oprah was preaching a similar message. On one particular show, Queen Oprah talked about her gratitude journal and how it has helped to give her perspective.  It was probably that same day when I decided to begin each of my personal journal entries with, Today I’m thankful for. . . ” and list three things for which I was thankful. 

So, between my Dad and Oprah I was educated on the importance of thankfulness.

Recently,  I opened an old journal and  found this statement dated 2-19-04:  Today I’m thankful for an awesome Mom and the day we had to sit and talk as mother/daughter/friends.

Without warning. . . I am hit.  Like waves crashing into the shore, I am blind-sided by the emotion. In a moment I am reminded of the hurt, the pain, the grief. . . the anger. The tears flow silently at first, and then uncontrollably. . . the “ugly cry” as Oprah would call it.  And for a moment, I let it happen.  I allow myself to feel it and think about it and sit in it.  I allow myself, because I believe that feeling the hurt is just as important as being thankful.

I’m not sure if it was just reading that entry, or if it is the quickly approaching 1 year mark, or this post by a dear friend who just walked through another tough anniversary. . . but I am feeling raw. 

The truth is. . . no matter how I twist it, or bend it, or contort it. . . there is no bright side.  She is gone and that makes me very, very, sad.

And I guess that is just part of the bitter-sweetness of life.  Even though there is so much good. . . it can’t all be good.  All of us will face things that are out of our control.  Sickness, death, heartache, pain. . . sometimes, it just hurts.  And when it hurts is when I find myself saying “AND”. 

Not “but”. . . “and”. 

What I mean is that it hurts AND my heart is still full of thankfulness. 

Thankful that this tender-hearted little guy carries with him a sense of awe and wonder that opens my eyes to the beauty of the world.  Thankful that he explores, studies, and investigates the intricacies of a flower or the movements of a machine.  Thankful that he slows me down. 

Waves of grief continues to explode toward me AND joy is present at the same time.

Joy in the simple things like water squishing in boots or creating a dust cloud of sidewalk chalk over Mommy’s head.  Joy simply at being alive, because really, that’s all she knows right now.  And somehow with each splash in the puddle and each stroke of sidewalk chalk, the things that matter are evident and the things that don’t. . . well, I’m not thinking about those things. 

My heart is especially tender during these days, AND laughter is ever-present.

Oh, and the best kind of laughter.  The belly-aching-tear-producing laughter happened just the other day with the following conversation between Chanelle and I. . .

Chanelle: “Mommy, can we go to a play-land for lunch?”
Me: “No, Chanelle we’re not going to a play-land.”
(Long pause)
Chanelle: “Mommy, a little bit you’re not the best Mommy in the world, but a little bit you are.”
Me: “Why am I not the best Mommy, Chanelle?”
Chanelle: “You won’t let me go to a play-land. If we go you will be the best Mommy in the world.”
End Conversation.

In a moment I race for the phone to call my sister and share this story because even in the midst of pain. . .we laugh.
Honestly, I could go on forever, but I will spare you for now.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that the AND is important. The good and the not so good are balanced. . . they need to be balanced. In all reality, I’m not sure that you can have one without the other. 

All of this has got me thinking about choices.  Wondering if balance is a choice or if it really is in a person’s DNA.  What makes one cower in suffering and another rise above it?  Do we have choices or are we just made this way or that way?

I’d love to know the answer.  For now, though, I’m going to keep doing what I know to do. . . I’m going to start my journal entries, “Today I’m thankful for. . . ”

AND the rest. . . I think that will fall into place.

  • Sassytimes - March 18, 2011 - 12:26 pm

    Hugs to you! I'm glad you could find the "and" in life.

    I'm going to think about your question all day.ReplyCancel

  • lisa - March 18, 2011 - 12:57 pm

    simply beautiful…AND inspiring!

    thanks as always for sharing~!

    hugs 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Trophy Life - March 18, 2011 - 1:50 pm

    i think the gratitude is both a choice and part of the DNA make-up. nature vs. nurture as well.

    either way, i think your make-up is quite incredible. thanks for teaching us, my friend.

    love you lots.ReplyCancel

  • Jackie - March 19, 2011 - 4:09 am

    I am proud of you and am going to start my journal entries too. I have been keeping a list for each day of somthing that has been good.
    Life is not fair, unfortunately we live in this broken world and have to face things we don't want to!! But with God's strenth and help we can!!!! You are a survivor of so much this past year!!!! We all have so much to be thankful for. Thanks for reminding us!!!! of course I am thankful for these two wonderful children of yours:) and for you!!!!!! Love you dear.ReplyCancel

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