Sunday, January 22, 2017

My Life Lesson in True Gratitude

A few weeks ago as I drove up to my house, that I affectionately refer to as Grey Gardens and that my children refer to as the house from Fight Club, something really hit me. My lack of gratitude.
The house 15 years ago when I bought it, before Grey Gardens

As I drove up to my house I thought about how I haven't taken care of this house the way I should have and I felt ashamed. It reminds me of a child who is given everything so they don't take care of their toys or the nice things that they have. I feel a lot like that child. I have had this house for 15 years and even if I haven't been able to fix all the things that need to be fixed, I should at least work on trying to keep it nice.

This house may have lost its luster in the last few years but it's MY house. My house may be imperfect and it may need work but it's mine. I can sell this house or this land if I needed to, or I can choose to keep it. Not many people can say that. I have a roof over my head and it's a roof over my children and my elderly father.

I think about women all around the city, nation, state and world who have to live in women's shelters. I know that I'm grateful that I don't need to do that, but do my actions reflect my true gratitude?

My word for 2017 is "Order" and that's my goal this year with this house. It's to get it back in order. Just because I can't afford to fix it doesn't mean I can't do other things. I can organize the rooms the way I want them. I can make it look nice with what I have. My second word for the year needs to be "Gratitude" again. I think I really know the meaning of that word now, more so than I did when it was my word in 2014.

I'm grateful in general. I'm grateful for my health, my children's health, their intelligence, the fact that Seth has come such a long way, that my ex is such a great co-parent, my father and his health at his age, my "village" of friends, family and that I have enough to survive.

However, these last couple of years have been hard, but they have also been good for me and for the kids. We've learned not to take money for granted. When I think about it, for many years I steadily made more and more money and I also spent more and more. When they were younger and I was married we had a double income and we never wanted for anything.

Now I've learned to do without and how to be frugal. That's been an important lesson for me. I went from having my parents, to having a double income and I never learned how to take care of myself until now. It's been an important step in really growing up.  Learning true gratitude is a big part of that and inculcating it in my children, so that they learn to truly be grateful when we have more.

Life has a funny way of teaching us lessons whether we want to learn from them or not. I've learned that God provides at just the right time and I think that this lesson in gratitude makes me and the children better people. I have faith that if and when we have more in life they are going to look at it with a very different point of view than they did before. I have faith that as they get older and have better opportunities in life they will know when to be grateful. I have faith that I will too.

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