Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My father died just before my sixth birthday. How could he? My birthday present was to be without a father, to lose the Sunday morning walks in the garden after church, to never experience mystery rides in the car or Little Tavern hamburgers on occasion.

At 6 I am not sure I knew I had a choice about my reactions to events in my life. I selfishly chose anger, resentment, blame and several other not so pretty emotions. Throughout the next 20 or so years, I justified my actions and feelings. I had a right to be pissed off! I was a victim in the world.

Slowly,a feeling from underneath my skin began to emerge. I had a sense that feeling had been there this whole time. Why hadn't I chosen THAT feeling?

I discovered that feeling was gratitude. I would not have wished the death of my father or anyone else. Yet being given the opportunity at such a young age to learn how to cope with tragedy I realize is a gift. I have actually accomplished many things in spite of my horrible life and ruined birthday (lol).

My gratitude garden grew at a very slow speed. It harbored many weeds and was sometimes home to more weeds that good deeds. Yet, as I look back at how my life evolved and how I am able to still grow, despite an occasional weed, I am grateful for the lessons I learned along the way. I would have rather had an easier life. But then, what would I have learned?

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