Monday, June 23, 2014

True Gratitude

I had another small epiphany this morning. I do like that word. It is not only just a fun and lovely word but it so aptly describes those little "ah ha" moments one is occasionally blessed with when the wisdom of the universe becomes the obvious.

My challenge for today was to write a letter of encouragement to myself which does not include the word, should, since that word puts undue pressure on you to do something and actually has the opposite effect of its intent. So, here is my letter to self, "I will exercise more this weed because I am rediscovering how good it makes me feel both physically and mentally. I will accomplish more of my tasks because of this renewed energy and by next Monday, I'll be very happy with myself and proud for all of the progress I've made. I will begin looking forward to tasks that I once enjoyed and find joy in them again because I'm remembering why they once brought me so much enjoyment. I will be grateful but not only giving thanks but by thoroughly enjoying every moment, every person (or animal) and every thing that I have in my life. "

It was when I was writing that last line a realization suddenly leaped into my mind, IT IS NOT TRUE GRATITUDE IF WE DO NOT ENJOY OUR BLESSINGS. Every day, I try to pray before getting out of bed. I say the Lord's prayer, I pray for all of my friends who are in need and then I pray a prayer of gratitude. I thank God for all of my blessings, each person, animal and thing that touches my life, makes it better and especially those that I truly love. But is it gratitude or even love if I see most aspects of my life any longer as drudgery, just do what I have to do and get it over so I don't have to think about anything? How did I let myself get to this point? I don't know but dwelling on that or worrying about the answer to that question is not going to help. Beginning this moment to truly enjoy all that I have in my life and not letting anything interrupt that enjoyment especially not guilt, that will truly change my life.

I've lived my entire life with guilt over anything I have that my siblings do not. That may sound odd but you have to understand my story. I was the late in life baby for my parents. My nearest sibling in age is still close to seven years older than me. She has always admitted that she resents, even hates me just because I exist. It seems that she was the apple of my dad's eye until I came along and then he just pushed her aside for me. I was very far into adulthood before I finally realized that none of that was my fault and I shouldn't feel guilty for just being born. It is very hard to shed emotions that have been conditioned into you since birth however. I thought that these feelings of jealousy and resentment toward me were just owned by my youngest sister but recently, I was surprised to learn that my oldest sister feels the same way. They resent anything I do or accomplish, they resent anything I get or people who care about me. Discovering this, especially in the way I did (which I won't go into now) caused a plethora of emotions: hurt, sadness, anger and yes, guilt. However unjustified, I can't deny an honest emotion but I also have to recognize how that negative emotion has ruled my life, controlled my actions and kept me from enjoying my blessing for most of my life.

Yes, you do have to enjoy your blessings because that is what they are intended for and you can't truly be grateful until you do. I will admit now, thanks mainly to that guilt, I have never truly enjoyed my blessings. But I'm also discovering that from the moment I had that epiphany this morning, my heart has filled with joy. Now, I know what it means to truly be grateful so, "Thank you Lord for this day you've given me and all my many blessings. Help me to enjoy them each to the fullest and not to squander them and to use them and the joy they bring to bring glory and praise to Thine name. Amen."

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