[After posting this on Facebook and getting some interesting responses to this post, I must preface it by saying to have gratitude no matter what is going on our lives is the point of this essay. It is not about being judgmental of the church or the congregation. It is not about soliciting sympathy from my readers. With all that said, here goes…]
Last night I attended a Christmas concert at a local country church. The chorus sang beautifully however, during the concert and chili dinner I sat by myself. As I ate my meal, not one person spoke with me, probably because I was the newcomer, a stranger in town so to speak.
In the time spent there my being single, being alone, was magnified 1000x. It was glaringly blinding there right in my face, being there brought up that I am alone and single at 55. Why does the age part matter, I wonder? Maybe, because in my mind most people my age are coupled; even though I have had partners in the past, whom I left by choice, there are still moments especially during the holidays that I realize that I miss being with someone. In contrast when I am home alone with the cows, the dogs and the cat, I don’t feel alone. It’s strange, yet there in that moment with over a hundred people surrounding me I felt invisible, an outsider, and an observer in festively decorated hall.
Maybe I am better off just being home alone with the animals, that doesn’t bring up the fact that I am single, that my parents are gone, that I have no family to spend the holidays with. The good news is that like most people who complain about having family to spend the holidays with, I do not have that problem. That piece of irritation that many people feel, is taken off the list for me, it does not exist.
That’s the good news. The bad news – if I want to label it either good or bad – is that I must find something to do on “that day” to fill my time while friends and family are busy with their festivities. The next day I may hear how wonderful it was, how they entertained so many people and how good they felt about it. Or, there might be some who share with me that they just wished they could have hidden away from their crazy family and how they envy me for my singleness and for my ability to be alone on the holiday.
Even though I may be alone physically, I have much to be grateful for, AND I feel loved beyond measure by those who matter to me most!! I do not feel sorry for myself and hope that others will not either. I choose to only be in relationships that are in integrity for me, and if that means being single that’s just fine with me. I do not wish things were any different than they are in terms of the relationships I currently have, I have loving friends and my fur family and that is absolutely perfect.
So, what will I do for that day when everyone else in the world is busy and I am alone with the animals?
I will be grateful for what I have and that I am spending the time with those who love me as much as I love them, my Texas Longhorns, the dogs and the cat.
I will be grateful for my health, for there are many who suffer in chronic pain with terrible illnesses.
I will be grateful for the weather – whatever it may be that day, for “no weather, no Earth”.
I will be grateful for my heart that beats and keeps me alive, for my lungs that breathe in the same air that Jesus and Buddha breathed centuries before me.
I will be grateful for the warm home I live in, there are so many who live in cardboard boxes on the fringes of society and who go unnoticed and ignored.
I will be grateful for the food I have in my belly and in my cupboard, there are so many who go hungry all over the world, not because of lack of resources, but because the resources are controlled by a select few.
I will be grateful that I was blessed to have had parents whom I remember fondly, there are many who are orphans who never knew their biological parents, who may now live with people who are doing their best by providing them food, clothing and shelter but who may fall very short of loving them in the ways they need to be loved.
I will be grateful for the clean air I breathe, living here in the country the air quality is pretty good, whereas some people only have toxic air polluted with car exhaust or worse radiation fallout from Fukushima.
I will be grateful that I am at peace inside, that even though I am alone, I have no regrets. There are millions of people who struggle every day with regret, with guilt, with anger, with sadness and other emotions that control their lives and limit their inner peace and happiness.
On that day and every day of my life I will remind myself of all my many blessings, great and small. Some days when I am down and blue I may only be able to be grateful that my heart is beating and my lungs are breathing without my reminding them to.
Other days when I am up and happy, I may be able to be grateful for the larger things in life, the fact that I live on Mother Earth, that she has not hit the eject button for me and that I have not been catapulted off into the cosmos to exist as a particle of dust in some far off galaxy.
No matter what the circumstances, even when I feel alone in a crowd, I have found that the best way through is to find something to be grateful for. I will remember, no matter how blue I might feel, to sit down and write my daily gratitude list as it always makes me feel better and puts whatever is happening into a much clearer perspective. I invite you to join me in writing your own gratitude list to remind yourself of all that you have to be grateful. Believe me it makes life a little bit more rewarding and puts everything into a clear perspective.
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