Creating Our Lives

If I were to take a snapshot of this week I would have a few choices.  The question is, would it be the beginning ~ when the car died, my coffee maker broke, and I broke down in sea of frustration, or would it be the end ~ with a new car, a new coffee maker, and an overflowing heart of thankfulness.  At first glance it might be an easy choice but in truth, I think it's the middle that had the most impact ~ the part where I kept going and kept an open heart and mind of gratitude.

I think life is like that ~ it's not so much about what happens to us as much as it is about what we do with those events.  Case in point... I have a friend who's been slowly slipping away ~ not because of some insidious medical condition but because she allowed a few bad apples into her basket.  Once there, they rotted and spread.  I've been there and I understand how it can happen.  But standing on the outside watching someone you care about grow angry and withdraw is painful and saddening.  Over the years I've watched her slowly move away; stepping back from things that made her happy and exposed to other creative souls.  Each time she drew back to "stand up" for her principles she slowly pulled her beauty, her creativity, her intelligent insight, away from those of us who've appreciated it most.  I miss her musings and I hope one day she returns.

In the end I think the one thing we have is our perspective. I could be the arrogant debutante I was raised to be, or  the woman I was 12 years ago ~ broken by a heartless man, or  the woman I was 10 years ago ~ stripped of all hope or the woman I was 8 years ago ~ impoverished; washing my children's clothes in our kitchen sink or the woman I was 6 years ago ~ realizing I'd stepped into the arms of another liar or the woman I was 5 years ago ~ barely choosing to stay alive but for the sake of my children or the woman I was 3 years ago ~ desperately trying to change my mistakes or the woman I was a year ago ~ betrayed by the one I'd tried so hard to help.  I could be all of these or any one of the stepping stones along my own life's journey.

But you see, somewhere along the way, each time I picked myself up, dusted off my mistakes, and kept moving forward, I learned the valuable lesson of gratitude. Feeling grateful for the treasures in our lives, no matter how small, is one of the greatest tools we have.  It enables us to create beauty from nearly nothing and as an artist, I love to create.  I remember a counselor telling me years ago to find happiness in my current life ~ I thought he was nuts.  But in this sense we're all artists; painting the pictures of our lives that tell the stories of our own journeys through this world.  I believe the paintings we create, with the brush strokes of our thoughts and actions, are the most beautiful creations we'll ever possess. They are as open and new as a pure white canvas and possessed with nearly endless possibilities.
So while this week may have started off in some dark place in my mind's eye, it wound up being another stepping stone in this journey, another part of the beautiful creation I'm working on that's called "my life". My own canvas is filled with countless shortcomings and wrong turns but it's the change of colors and brush strokes that have brought me to today and help ensure I live with a heart of gratitude and a desire to continue finding my own meaning of success.