Last month I read many posts on Facebook where they list things they are grateful for each day. I enjoy reading them - especially my family's. My older sister posted her gratitude each day and after reading it, I would name something to myself for which I am so incredibly thankful.
Because I am.
So incredibly thankful - for so many, many things.
But I'm just not feeling it. I've been grumpy and irritable and my tone has been considerably less that patient and pleasant.
When I would name what I'm thankful for, it felt forced and cheesy. But I kept on naming things because, you know, the whole fake it until until you make it adage. I was hoping to get there, get to feeling it - and feeling it good.
I've been trying to write. Those 3 or 4 people who read this regularly have noticed that it's been 3 weeks since I've written. What they don't see is the 152 times I've sat down to write and had no words come.
Usually, writing helps me to sort out what I'm feeling and helps me to lay it bare. If I don't like something that is happening in my life. I'm the only one that I can change - either the situation, or how I look at it.
I was going to write this post with the same title I have now, I'm Full of It. I wanted people to look at the title and think one thing and then read my lovely post about how grateful I am and see that I AM full of it. I am just so chock full of thankfulness. I had it all planned out in my head. Things usually look their best there...in my head.
Except the words wouldn't come. All of my thankfulness is stuck somewhere deep inside. I guess you could say that I'm a bit spiritually constipated. That analogy is going to make my mom roll her eyes to the back of her head so far, that they just might not make it back, but it's just the way it feels. My gratitude is all backed up. And if I don't work on it, if I don't loosen up the old pipes, so to speak, my gratitude is going to turn into my own tiny, petrified little pit of despair.
I know that having a thankful heart turns a lot around. I've seen many quotes pasted on friends' timelines on Facebook about gratitude and having a thankful heart. Here's one,
Each one was a little dagger to my heart because I wasn't feeling it. And although I wasn't complaining so much out loud, I've been doing plenty of complaining to myself.
And, yet, I agree! I totally believe in the power that gratitude has over my outlook and how I behave and how I feel. And only I have the power to change any of that.
I have a really good life. I have a home. I have a husband that loves me and supports me and who works really hard to keep the bills paid and make it possible for me to be in our home with our boys. I am there whether they want me to be or not and I love that I get that choice. Yes, there are days where I fantasize about getting in the car all by myself and driving and driving and driving and yes, EVERY SINGLE NIGHT I am relieved when bed time comes along. But what would I do without those two boys? I am so lucky for the chance to have gotten to know and love the men in this house.
But, holy hell, things can be so hard.
I've thought about praying for a thankful heart. However, so many times, to get what you want there is a hard lesson to be learned. So praying for gratitude seemed like just asking for trouble. Who needs more trouble?
I may have mentioned I'm seeing a counselor. She is really helpful with my parenting. She offers new words and encourages less words with my boys and really stresses the need for self care for all moms, and especially for mothers of kids with special needs. She suggested I read a book, by Brene Brown, called The Gifts of Imperfection. I put it on my Kindle and started reading.
I came across this quote in the 2nd or 3rd chapter,
"Don't get me wrong, I'd love to skip over the hard stuff, but it just doesn't work. We don't change, we don't grow, and we don't move forward without the work. If we really want to live a joyful, connected, and meaningful life, we must talk about things that get in the way."I bookmarked my spot in the book and closed it out. And didn't pick it up for almost a month. And spent the month looking for a thankful heart in all the wrong places.
All of a sudden, it was Thanksgiving. Lobster had requested a quiet Thanksgiving day of football and food and just our family. For me, it's not quite a holiday if there's not a big group of people talking and laughing and enjoying good food.
We compromised with a pie night with friends on the eve of the big day and had a lot of fun with a house full and kids running and squealing and delicious desserts being shared. Boy 1 said he wants to make The Pie Palooza a yearly tradition.
Thanksgiving day was quiet, except for the harsh voices of boys spending too much time together and a mom singing songs about Jesus and kindness and groans and complaints about such singing.
When dinner was ready, we sat around our table. Lobster settled an argument about where each boy got to sit and we then each listed a few things for which we were thankful. Lobster began our family prayer to give thanks and ask blessing upon our feast. While our eyes were closed, I almost gasped aloud. I was given a gift. I opened my eyes during the prayer and looked at my family. Where my heart had been discouraged and a bit heavy, I was filled with such love and appreciation for these men in my life and for the life that we have made together.
For just a moment, I was overwhelmed with emotion and the tears spilled over my cheeks.
I know I have more work to do. I've got "things in the way". But that glimpse of how it can feel gave me the determination to keep working.
And I am full of gratitude for that.