Gratitude

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Sunday, March 16, 2014


"Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses." ~ Alphonse Karr

SOMETIMES we forget what really matters. Sometimes we forget that we are strong. Sometimes we forget to be grateful. All of us have thorns in our lives. Our thorns could be a thing or a person. It could be a circumstance. A situation. And oftentimes us, like the quotation grumble about the thorns. No one wants thorns, they are a pain. It is difficult to walk with thorns more so wear them in the head like someone who did so because of love. But whether we like it or not, there will be thorns. That is one way of looking at it. There is another way.

If there is a thorn, there has to be a rose somewhere close. And in this way we can have a shift in looking at things. There can be no thorns without roses and roses without thorns. But what do we look at? The thorns? Or the roses? Do we look at the beauty or the pain?
It is the same way with our lives. What do we look at? What do we focus on?

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I guess it is part of life what I am going through and to a certain extent, what Chona is also going through. I am 55 and I will not dare reveal Chona's age, you figure it out. And when you are 55 you sometimes get to think about your mortality (sometimes my hypochondria gets the better of me!) I was kidding Chona that with God's grace, in five years I will be a senior citizen and get to have 20 percent discount. I was teasing Chona about it because whether I like it or not, it will happen and there is nothing I can do about it. I choose the rose and not the thorn.

Much has happened in the past few years and I am grateful that those things happened. I may not have chosen certain things or experiences but I chose how I would react to them. There has been pain and all that but I have chosen not to dwell on those things anymore. Of course there was a time it bothered me but as all things are, they pass and we move on. I am grateful for those events because they taught me many things. And that is all there is to that. Yes there were thorns but oh my, there were so many roses. In fact the roses outnumbered the thorns. For each thorn, several roses bloomed and that is what I shall carry with me. I am grateful that each thorn had several roses.

In our lives, it is very easy to look at what is wrong. It is very easy to doubt, to be afraid. That does not take much. In our lives it is very easy to be mean and arrogant and cruel. It does not take someone special to be that. It is very easy to be bitter because of the battered lives people have endured. It is very easy to see only thorns. It takes a lot of effort, a lot of courage and strength to see beyond the bitterness and the pain. It takes a lot to realize that thorns have roses and not roses have thorns.

I am a long way from attaining from what I want in life. I am not someone who will pretend but I am someone willing to try. There is much that I have to change but I have to start somewhere. And where do I start? I start with gratitude. I start with that simple concept of just being grateful to a lot of things, to a lot of people most especially.

Meister Eickhart said it best when he wrote: "If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough." Gratitude has a way of making you humble, it has a way of making you simple and making you look at things in a different way.

If someone hurt you, be grateful they have taught you strength. If someone gossiped about you, be grateful because you are important enough to be gossiped about (haha). If someone tells you that you are hopeless, be grateful because now the only way is up. Though how difficult it may be, let us choose the rose. Those who put you down, those who are cruel chose the thorn. Choose the rose.

Be grateful.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 17, 2014.

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