“If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.”   Rabbi HAROLD KUSHNER (b 1935):

 

My high school drama teacher posted the above quote today, and it resonated so strongly with me, that I knew it would inspire tonight’s blog post. I talk about gratitude all the time, and end all of my posts with five things for which I’m grateful. Not only this quote, but the story behind it caused me to stop, take a step back and let go of all of the negative energy I’d been harboring for the last couple of days. Not that I intended to harbor it, but I just kept letting myself get sucked into things which irritated me. It took a man who lost his only son at 14 to a rare disease which causes the victim to age at an alarming rate to make me realize that all of the small stuff I’ve allowed to get to me is, in the first place, out of my control, and in the second, better dealt with by being grateful for the good things.

Sure, I made a point last night of giving kudos to the people who are trying to find homes for animals every day, and who deal with the cretins who are so clueless. I expressed relief that a couple of dogs would not have to live out their lives with a man who would give them away rather than take them to obedience class to learn not to chew on items which weren’t theirs. But the overall tone of last night’s post, at least by my standards, was on the wrong end of the positivity spectrum.

My thanks to Jim Gilchrist who, even many years after I’ve graduated from high school, can still put things back in perspective for me with just a few words. I will usually be the first person to look for the good in a situation, no matter how horrible it might be. If nothing else, there is always the amazing way strangers will pull together to get through a catastrophe.

I am reminded of the Northridge Earthquake back in 1994. I was in the middle of what I fondly dubbed “the divorce from hell”, my mom had just died and I was struggling to keep everything together. But on that morning in 1994, all of my neighbors came outside and we did our best to share what we had in the days which, for us, were blessedly brief, but left us without water, power or gas. There were thousands of stories of neighbor helping neighbor as collapsed buildings trapped people, pets went missing and news of loved ones was hard to come by.

In the face of adversity, humans somehow manage to find it in themselves to do the right thing.

Every time there is a disaster or other kind of tragedy, people come together to help each other. I’ve seen it after hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, fires and any number of other troubles which can rain down on people or animals. I’ve seen it in the people who work tirelessly to save animals who have been abandoned, left homeless through no fault of their own, or even abused. Human nature really does lean more to the good when all is said and done.

Though I still find it easier to spend time in the company of animals, I will admit that humans, as a whole, aren’t so bad. Our worst flaw is that we allow ourselves to be blinded by selfishness. Once that blindfold is removed, we can make amazing things happen!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the goodness inherent in all humans.
2. I am grateful for reminders of that inherent goodness.
3. I am grateful for a week with my kids. (I’ll catch up on sleep next week!)
4. I am grateful for the few hours of quiet time I got tonight while the kids attended to other responsibilities.
5. I am grateful for abundance for everyone: love, health, harmony, peace, joy and prosperity. And I’m grateful for an abundance of goodness.

Love and light.

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