“It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.”
Do you ever get down in the dumps? I do, but fortunately not for long. When my health is interrupted by maladies I start to feel discouraged. It also happens when I find I am unable to participate in some of the volunteer opportunities I am offered and when I have to turn down requests to assist via board or leadership memberships because of my periodic need to stop and recover my energy.
But you know what? My despondencies don’t linger. I only have to pause long enough to recognize how much better I have it than so many others. I have friends with severe illnesses, I often learn of folks with no place to live and I have met seniors who have difficulty getting the food and medicine they need just to survive. It does not take long for my appreciation for what I do have to force out the concerns for my minor trials and tribulations.
Here are some thoughts I got from an Order of Franciscan Sisters that I find to be excellent therapy when things look a little bleak:
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire. If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something, for it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times. During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations, because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for your mistakes. They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary, because it means you’ve made a difference.
It’s easy to be thankful for the good things. A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks. Find a way to be thankful for your troubles, and they can become your blessings.
Appreciating Our Past
It is easy to be negative about past mistakes and unhappiness. But it is much more healing to look at ourselves and our past in the light of experience, acceptance, and growth. Our past is a series of lessons that advance us to higher levels of living and loving. The relationships we entered, stayed in, or ended taught us necessary lessons.
Some of us have emerged from the most painful circumstances with strong insights about who we are and what we want. Our mistakes? Necessary. Our frustrations, failures, and sometimes stumbling attempts at growth and progress? Necessary too. Each step of the way, we learned. We went through exactly the experiences we need to, to become who we are today. Each step of the way, we progressed. Is our past a mistake? No. The only mistake we can make is mistaking that for the truth.
A Lesson in Life
Everything happens for a reason. Nothing happens by chance or by means of good or bad luck. Illness, injury, love, lost moments of true greatness and sheer stupidity all occur to test the limits of your soul. Without these small tests, if they be events, illnesses or relationships, life would be like a smoothly paved, straight, flat road to nowhere.
If someone hurts you, betrays you , or breaks you heart, forgive them. For they have helped you learn about trust and the importance of being cautious to who you open your heart to. If someone loves you, love them back unconditionally, not only because they love you, but because they are teaching you to love and opening your heart and eyes to things you would have never seen or felt without them.
Make every day count. Appreciate every moment and take from it everything that you possibly can, for you may never be able to experience it again.
“Gratitude doesn’t change the scenery. It merely washes clean the glass you look through so you can clearly see the colors.”
Richelle E. Goodrich
Mr. and Mrs. Shoenfeld were asleep in their beds late one night, when Mrs. Shoenfeld heard a noise downstairs. “Wake up!” cried Mrs. Shoenfeld, nudging her husband. “There are burglars in the kitchen. I think they’re eating the pot roast I made tonight!”
“What do we care,” said Mr. Shoenfeld. “As long as they don’t die in the house!”
Aging seems to be the only available way to live a long life.
Daniel Francois Esprit Auber
A pious man who had reached the age of 105 suddenly stopped going to synagogue. Alarmed by the old fellow’s absence after so many years of faithful attendance the Rabbi went to see him. He found him in excellent health, so the Rabbi asked, “How come after all these years we don’t see you at services anymore?”
The old man looked around and lowered his voice. “I’ll tell you, Rabbi,” he whispered. “When I got to be 90, I expected God to take me any day. But then I got to be 95, then 100, then 105. So I figured that God is very busy and must’ve forgotten about me, and I don’t want to remind Him!”
I’ve been on so many blind dates, I should get a free dog.
A troop of Boy Scouts was being used as “guinea pigs” in a test of emergency systems. A mock earthquake was staged, and the Scouts impersonated wounded persons who were to be picked up and cared for by the emergency units. One Scout was supposed to lie on the ground and await his rescuers, but the first-aid people got behind schedule, and the Scout lay “wounded” for several hours.
When the first-aid squad arrived where the casualty was supposed to be, they found nothing but a brief note: “Have bled to death and gone home.”
“A girl phoned me the other day and said, ‘Come on over; nobody’s home.’ I went over. Nobody was home.”
A little boy, who was “very” much afraid of the dark, was told by his mother to go out to the back porch and bring her the broom. The little boy turned to his mother and said, “Mama, I don’t want to go out there. It’s dark.” The mother smiled reassuringly at her son. You don’t have to be afraid of the dark,” she explained. “Jesus is out there
He’ll look after you and protect you.” The little boy looked at his mother real hard and asked, “Are you sure he’s out there?” “Yes, I’m sure. He is everywhere, and he is always ready to help you when you need him,” she said. The little boy thought about that for a minute and then went to the back door and cracked it a little. Peering out into the darkness, he called “Jesus? If you’re out there, would you please hand me the broom?
Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have—life itself.”
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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