The Gift - "Sit for A Bit"
One cold winter day I decided to go to the mall for some much-needed retail therapy.
After about an hour of browsing, I realized I had become quite disinterested in that whole endeavor. So I sat down and did something I hadn't done in a long time, but totally enjoy doing—people watching.
As I scanned the crowd around me, I began to focus on the individuals and couples who looked the least happy. I thought that would make me happy, and just like my retail therapy, it did, for a while at least. However, at some point my internal “true voice” recognized I had “stinking thinking” going on. That voice decided to intervene by taking the short elevator ride from my gut to my heart to my head.
Upon arrival, it gently whispered, “Aren’t you tired of the reality you are creating? Don’t you realize that misery loves company?”
That gentle nudge of truth helped me make the cerebral course correction so that I could start looking for what I call a “gooder”. Within seconds, I was redirecting my newfound attention towards people who appeared to be having a much more enjoyable shopping experience. And I realized that it made me feel a whole lot better.
About the same time as my internal epiphany, an overtly overdressed woman sat down directly opposite me. At first, I didn’t pay her much attention, but I soon discovered that in addition to the excitement of her comfy new seat, she had also found another new interest—me. For long enough to make most people feel a bit uncomfortable, she intensely stared at me like I was her last meal. Never one to shy away from a good stare down, I decided to engage in her process to see which one of us would break eye contact first.
When she suddenly spoke, I blinked.
“Hi, handsome,” she said in a calm and gentle voice. “How is your day going?”
A little taken aback, I replied, “Great, thanks for asking. How is yours?”
And then came the gift.
With the biggest smile on her face, she said, “It's great, I'm just warming up. I'm homeless and just needed to sit for a bit so I can warm up.”
Then as quickly as she had arrived, she stood up and casually walked away.
They say when the student is ready, the teacher will appear—and did she ever. Who says their day is great when they know full well that the home they are returning to is the cold winter streets? Who smiles as they walk back into their unfortunate circumstance?
It is said that it’s not the bite or wound from a snake (person, event, or circumstance) that kills you; it is the slow and steady release of the venom (your focus on your misguided thoughts) into your body that takes you out.
The key to surviving and recovering from whatever is consuming you isn’t killing the snake or whatever bit you. The key is in getting the proper antidote into your system so you can use its power to help you create the way forward to hope, healing and breakthrough. Being Thankful is one such powerful antidote.
The truth is, whether we like it or not, growth often comes in many forms, and more often than not, those unwanted circumstances are often our best teachers, but only if we allow them to be.
As the COVID-19 experience of 2020 has taught us, we all get to experience the good, the bad and the ugly from time to time in life. No one is exempt and there are no exceptions. Fair or not, it is simply the reality of human experience. However, when life gets us down, makes us sad or breaks us, what if instead of giving up, giving in, and creating more of our own personal prisons of brokenness, we chose instead to look for the good in and around us? What if, like the homeless woman who was happy to “sit for a bit”, we chose to be thankful in all things instead of blaming the government, our parents, or whatever our own personal sacrificial lamb? Would we be better off? Would our mental health improve? Would we find the thankful part of ourselves again? Could it be that one of the keys to manifesting true happiness in our lives has been in our control this whole time?
I needed to know the answers to all those questions! So, instead of leaving them unanswered, I took the unexpected “thankfulness intervention” from that homeless woman and embarked on a one year, 365¼ day thankfulness journey with 25 fearless, brave, strong, intelligent, caring and giving women.
I hope that as you read through their stories, their truths, and their thankfulness revelations, you see yourself in some way and discover thankful moments of your own.