Gratitude

I am grateful for those who don’t feel envy.

I am aware of how some people might think I am woefully ungrateful if I ever moan about anything, as indeed I have so much, and it is all very precious and I am generally a very happy person. Not lucky though. My dad used to say I was but that was in the context of the inane amounts of trouble I would actively seek out and get into, and my coming out still alive.

Nothing I have at the moment is the result of luck. My children all had serious health problems in the past (and present!) we’ve battled through, people in my life have gone out of their way to be horrible and make my life difficult, many beloved ones have started dying at a very young age and haven’t stopped, and most of the choices I have made looked easy to those who saw me making them, but they were all difficult, and I was aware throughout most of them. Ok not all, but most.

One of the choices was renouncing material comfort for love, giving up saving money to cultivate personal relationships, being there for those who needed it even when it was absurd. It’s all stuff that has come back, in the shape of amazing friends and family.

But every so often, I do pay a price, still. Like this morning, the dream.

A horrendous dream that felt as real as can only be in one of those dreams, you know?, when it all feels real. I had done something terrible, felt I had no choice and struggled to explain it to those who loved me, who were devastated, disappointed… Then still in the dream I was telling myself it had been a dream, I hadn’t actually done that… But my brain refused to be fooled. I then felt very strongly I did not want to wake up, never ever, I couldn’t wake up in the morning knowing I’d done what I’d done, I couldn’t face those I loved… but I did wake up, and it was just a horrible, horrible dream.

Because nothing is worse than the nightmare of causing your own hell on this earth. I am so glad at one point I simply chose to actively try and ensure I didn’t, and that is why I am still alive and well. We all have this infinite potential, of making our life amazing and delightful or hellish and miserable. It is more of a choice than we believe.

I am proud and relieved of my choices. But they didn’t come easy, and every day the choice is renewed. Every day, for a long time, all I did was “keep passing the open windows”*. Eventually you stop even noticing them and then you can just be happy.

*Hotel New Hampshire, John Irving.

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