A habit of mine is to review the last 12 months of a waning year. 2018, however, is not an easy year for reflection. Frankly, I had to dig deep to craft a positive review. If I had the energy, I’d set up all 12 calendar months of 2018 and pour coffee on them, and then photograph “The Great Malaise of 2018.”
Despite the endless coffee stain, it was the magic of family and friends that kept 2018’s light glowing. So this is a thank you to a long list of kind people who have made a difference during my personally challenged moments.
I won’t list the names of each of these kind souls, mainly because it’s easy for me to forget practical things at the moment. And no deed great or small made any deed less or more grandiose because these actions came from your hearts. That is an unparalleled gift.
My prayer is that the kindness shown has helped balance out some of the intense negativity that no longer lurks in the shadows, but struts proud like a rooster on the prowl. My prayer is that some of this kindness has plucked a feather or two (or more) from that rooster, and his crow will soften into a harmonious greeting empty of foolish pride.
Yes, I feel blessed. My gratitude is deep.
But how did these relationships become showcases of care and compassion?
Life experiences taught me that we attract like souls. For instance, those times in life when I allowed my shallow and selfish self to dominate my days, brought me exactly that sort of relationship — shallow, selfish “friends.” We had good times and lots of laughs that eventually turned into calamitous catastrophes that benefitted no one.
Fortunately my near-exhausted good angel finally broke through to me to suggest that she knew that I knew better. She said, “Each of us come into our lives to learn how to be closer to all things good. And without calamitous catastrophes we might never learn the value of honesty, open-hearted communication and active compassion.”
My choices were clear: Remain sitting on a cold curbside cursing the world and screaming woe is me; or stand up, take 10 deep breaths, open my eyes and use my willful, hard-headed mannerisms to bring joy to not only my self but to others.
Over the decades I’ve cultivated good friends — not always perfect humans — but those who actually listen to their good angels. These friends tend to find ways to make the world around them a better place.
At the same time I have learned how to keep those who bring negativity into the room clear of my aura. Oh, this doesn’t mean that I think myself better. Nor does it mean that I think that I can change those mischievous persons. Every attempt to pull them from their demons failed. I learned that I can’t change others just as no one can change me. Change must come from within via lessons learned. So I send those troubled ones my love and prayer for their greater good, and I move on.
2018 became the year that family and friends have come to my aid and given me gifts of kindness beyond my expectations. Thank you.
The coffee stains remain and I pray that my 2019 calendar grows flowers, not stains.
And I wish the same for all who read this.