I could easily find 100 things to complain about in my life, and in all honesty, in my mind, sometimes I do. But the thing that keeps me moving forward and not stuck in that place of self pity is when I begin to count all the things that are not going my way, my spirit lovingly nudges me. My spirit says, “Ava, but look at all that you DO have. Now shut up!” Yes, even though my spirits tells me shut up and quit complaining, it still does so lovingly and for my own good. Look, I’m as human as the next person and I have days that are good and then I have days that are better. I try not to say that I’m having a bad day, because I’m of the belief that any day above ground is a good day. So, if God has seen fit to wake me up to another day, then that’s a good start and it’s a good day.
One of my gifts from God that I have come to truly appreciate is His gift of a joyous spirit to me. Inherently, I am a happy soul with a carefree and courageous spirit. I have only just begun to embrace and nurture this boundless energy and I am always amazed and surprised that I am now the woman who I was created to be. There is freedom and peace when you live in your truth, and I am grateful. Despite my occasional “woe is me” attitude, I am realizing that having an attitude of gratitude takes me a lot further and drenches the flames of depression and regret. When my spirit reminds me that I am not here by sheer luck, but by the Grace of God, I am renewed and thankful in my daily goings and comings. When I hear about the car accidents that occur on the roads everyday, I am thankful and grateful that God’s grace and mercy spared myself and my love ones. When I hear about all of hundreds of acts of violence on the news, I quietly give thanks to our Creator that I’m still here. I am grateful.
I could complain about my car and tell you that I’m driving it without any air conditioning right now and the summer is JUST starting. Oh well, you know what? I’ll survive that. Yes, it’s hot outside and some cold air inside my car would be wonderful and, in time, I will have that. But for now, I am grateful that my car runs well with or without the air conditioner and that I’m able to get to my destination. For a few years now I have complained about the color of my car – it’s a bright yellow! I acquired this car, so I didn’t have much choice in the color. I’ve wanted to paint it another color for a long time, but just never had the money to spare for a paint job. So, I drive my bright yellow everywhere I go. Two things have stopped me from complaining about my yellow car: The first is, that I wanted to change the color so I wouldn’t stand out so much. I wanted my car to blend in with everyone else’s. That’s just the introvert in me. But what has become blaringly obvious to me is this – I wasn’t created and born to “blend in” at all. It is my destiny to standout. The second thing: My car has never, ever failed me when I really needed it. Sure, I’ve had to spend money to change the thermostat or some other minor repair, but those things happen. However, there was never, ever a time that I left an event, work, home or a bad date and got into my car to leave and it didn’t start up and take me safely to my destination. When I come out of my house/work/restaurant/event, my car – my bright yellow car – is always waiting faithfully for me. I am grateful.
I’ve been trying to lose 20lbs for the past year or so, but the fat seems to love my body and is very stubborn about leaving it! Yep, I still go to the gym as much as possible and I am eating healthier and the extra fluff is slowly coming off. But in the meantime, I’ve decided that I’m just fine the way I am RIGHT NOW and that a happy life doesn’t depend on my dress size. I choose to be happy and grateful NOW…not if/when I lose the weight. I’m grateful that God has given me grace for an my aging body. I can still walk without assistance, I can breath on my own, I can still see the beauty of His creations all around me and I hear the sound of the crashing waves when I’m at the beach. My mind is clear and I can still remember the first time I heard the heartbeats of both of my children while they were still in my womb and how sweet they smelled as I held them in my arms for the first time. I’m grateful for my senses and my mental faculties. I’m grateful for some of the negatives in my life: negative mammograms and medical and lab reports – yes, I’m grateful!
A very sage and loving woman once told me this, “Yes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. BUT, unless you’ve got water and sugar to go along with those lemons, it’s gonna be sour.” She was right! Who wants to drink sour lemonade? I don’t! So, I’ve decided to take the lemons that life tosses me and add in the water from the tears that I’ve shed. I will sweeten it with all of the joy and love that I have and receive – and I will mix it all together and make a quenching pitcher of lemonade and hang out on the beach while I sip, listening to the smooth jazz that adore, inhaling the aroma of the sea while I press my toes into the warm, soft sand. And it is there, before the Creator of the Universe, that I will lift my sweetened lemonade and say “Thank you, God – I am grateful for your love, goodness and mercy in my life. Cheers!”