Thanks to Linda Unger for sharing her gratitude in today’s post as a guest contributor through her writing and photography gifts.
I come from a family where sarcasm rules. I zing you, you zing me. Whoever zings the fastest and the loudest is the winner! There is little time for compliments and kindness. I have to keep on guard, don’t ya know! A chink in the armor could mean a total zinger attack from every member in the family. My sisters and I joke often that we are the “Loud Family”. If we can’t win with our humor and frontal attacks, we will certainly drown you out with volume! The world isn’t a safe place when “The Sisters” are together! Today I find it funny. Long ago it was quite a source of anger for me.
A life lived for too long like this creates bitterness and anger that steals every ounce of joy out of life. The agitating and picking on each other divided us for many years. There was no “being there for each other” because the family was always on guard. We went through some hard times. One sister ran away from home for a few years. The other sister was addicted to medications that separated us all further. My life was lived with a man who was abusive, so my attitude toward life became even more sarcastic as the years went by. It seemed we were spiraling into a whirlpool in which we would all surely drown.
There came a time in my life when things had to change. I had pretty much lost my last friend. I had a few friends out-of-town who only saw me for small amounts of time. But being in a committed loving relationship with a friend was next to impossible with my anger and sarcastic attitude. I began to shut it all down, withdrawing from life, and my marriage was falling apart. For me, I felt there was no hope.
I remember asking God for help, somewhere in all that. I began to meet with a group of people who smiled all the time. They seemed to have the incredible ability to give and receive love and not be on guard! One suggested I start a “gratitude list”. What was that? She explained that I had to write, every day, 3 things to be grateful for. In my current state of mind I could not think of a single thing. That is where it helped SO much to have someone to walk with me through this process. She suggested a toothbrush! I didn’t realize that MOST of the people on Earth do NOT have toothbrushes and how small it was to me, but how big it would be if I didn’t have one. Once I got the idea of it, I found that the more things I listed, the more grateful I got. It seemed to remove the pain I was feeling for that day.
Today I am part of a 365 Gratitude Project online. I have to post a photo everyday of something I am grateful for. Some days I really have to work at finding something NEW since I can’t keep doing the same old toothbrush! My favorite thing to be grateful for is my God, light, my children, my job, my friends, my husband. And some days I find that I am grateful for rain. There have been times when I have chosen to “skip” out on the gratitude, and my day really shows it. For this girl, I have to stay in, or I slide back to the person I used to be.
My family has noticed the changes in me. In fact, today, my sisters and I are closer than ever…without losing the wonderful humor that we all share. That is something else to be grateful for!
To view more of Linda’s beautiful photography, check out her page at http://www.treklens.com/members/shelbeesmom/photos/
To purchase Linda’s new book, Spiritual Recovery Through God’s Eyes, visit http://www.amazon.com/Spiritual-Recovery-Through-Gods-ebook/dp/B006X5Z7OU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329234908&sr=8-1
Check out her Facebook page for excerpts from the book at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Spiritual-Recovery-Through-Gods-Eyes-the-book/368219286524857