times change

Forgive me but I feel another rambling post coming on.

The words grateful, gratitude and thankfulness have been coming up lately with good reason. Even today, five days after Thanksgiving, my yoga teacher talked about being grateful, content and happy as if all of those things are easily within our reach if we just breathe right, think good thoughts and do yoga poses. Okay, this is a bit of simplification and doesn’t really do her justice, she is an awesome teacher, but occasionally I wonder if she has had to deal with brain fog or any of the really horrible things that can happen to a person. I’m talking about life changing events, ones that are beyond our control, that happen before we know it and catch us back-pedaling in order to even make sense of them, much less learn how to survive them. I’m talking about a mental illness that comes on suddenly and changes a person’s perspective of how the world works. Or a call to the principal’s office to be told that your mother is in the hospital. Or learning that your stepson has just taken his own life. Or seeing an earthquake (or any other natural disaster) devastate your home. Or being told by your husband that he no longer loves you and doesn’t want to come home…OVER THE PHONE. Or being left by your mother to fend for yourself at the age of 15. (okay, I admit, that last one I got from an episode of “Major Crimes”.) Β The rest of these have happened to me or to friends of mine and I am blown away by how quickly life can all of a sudden take a turn down an unmarked road without our even being aware that the road was there.

When it happens to you, you enter a new realm, one of shock, anger, sadness, confusion, ignorance, crisis and the general miasma of the not-so-pretty side of life. Life (or even someone close to you) has pulled you into a tunnel without your permission. Gratitude is hidden in the murkiness that surrounds us, as we try to make sense of what just happened. Contentment is an abstract, unreachable concept.

I have been there, and chances are that I will be there again…that is life. What I’ve found is that it is easy to be grateful when things have evened out, when we have some control over our lives, when health and happiness and a world of plenty abound. It is not so easy when you’ve been kicked down, when you find yourself on the wrong side of a chick flick and have run out of Kleenex.

Right now…yes, I’m grateful. But I am also aware that my life will not stay the same and there will come a time that I won’t be so grateful. Which in its own weird way makes me even more grateful. While I’m not particularly religious, I do believe that I have to trust that whatever happens to me is supposed to happen, that I will grow from it and get stronger and, yes, more content and happy. And I have to say that my contentment now is boatloads more than even 5 years ago. Actually, I’ll take that back, I may have been this content, but I didn’t know how fragile it was. I enjoy it more now than I did then. Now I fall back into it, like it is a comfortable armchair. And I gladly hold out a hand to anyone who is in a murky tunnel and let them know it’s not forever…just like others did the same for me a few years ago. Perhaps contentment comes and goes, but so can heartache.

So after this deep dark post, I leave you with some pictures of beauty that I captured with my iPhone this week…pictures that leave me contented and, yes, grateful. (cuteness alert…there are more pictures of dogs…nothing like a dog to make you smile and feel content.)

me and the girls and a shadow in the trees
me and the girls and a shadow in the trees
sisters
sisters
outside the Museum of Industry, Baltimore, MD...by David Hess.
sculpture outside the Museum of Industry, Baltimore, MD…by local artist David Hess.

 

11 thoughts on “times change

  1. You’re so right, we can pause and be grateful in times of happiness and contentment. I’ve noticed that during those darkest moments, we are so grateful for the hands that reach out to us, like you say. Even if we don’t have time to reflect on gratitude. Maybe that’s the difference- not that we aren’t grateful, but that in the quiet times, we have time to reflect and enjoy the gratitude? Such a beautiful post (and the dogs – sigh – so cute!).

    1. Time may be the key, I hadn’t thought of that. And yes, perhaps we are grateful for different things in times of stress and turmoil, like a shoulder to cry on.

  2. Wonderful pics and post..i agree with everything you said..life can change in a heartbeat…I had a mother who should not bless her have had kids,serious mental health issues that saw me raising part time my younger siblings,saw me living on the streets at 16,saw me almost continuing a path of smoking pot..i made the changes and I am actually grateful for what I went through as by being alone at such a young age I escaped the house of craziness and learned albeit the hard way how to be a grown up.We have had our fair share of tragedy and sadness..i still get angry when people say how ‘lucky’ we are..luck played no part in a 31 year marriage or the raising of four children,holidays now are after 25 years of no holidays,our house long fought for after living in government housing for an eternity..hard work..but I am grateful that for now all my ducks are in a row..this could change as you say so very quickly..my friend I am on the same page..wonderful post πŸ™‚ Hugs Fozziemum xx

    1. Thank you for your words, I am in awe of your spirit and ability to survive and overcome…and to be such a wonderful presence to all of us here in blog land. It sounds weird to be grateful to people I’ve never met in person, but reading your posts and those of a select few others has broadened my world in a wonderful way. Yes, life is hard, no, luck doesn’t really have anything to do with it, but sometimes what happens to us in life can seem somewhat serendipitous.

      1. Thankyou back! I agree serendipity more than luck..paths and events crossing just at the right time…I am one stubborn piece of works..just had to focus it towards good..not stupid πŸ˜‰ I also love blogs that make me think and show beauty either in art words or animal stories..yours being one without a doubt πŸ™‚ makes a big world smaller my friend πŸ™‚

  3. Thank goodness those murky tunnels don’t last forever. I have been in some that I thought would never end. Fortunately, there is always someone like yourself to reach out and help till we trip, without warning, in to the next tunnel entrance. So glad we don’t know the road map of our lives, otherwise we wouldn’t get out of bed.

    1. It is true that when you are in the tunnel, you can have difficulty not seeing the end of it. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with a really good support system.

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