Thursday, June 16, 2005

Gratitude Index

For today: 8
It's been a good day. Kids mostly sweet. I just finished a game of Nanosaur (computer game that comes with a Mac: shoot the bad dinos, save the good dino eggs) with my oldest (7 yrs), and to see the joy of a child - who hasn't been slimed with all the truly vile games out there - sitting in my lap while we play this game very seldom gets better than that.

[Yes, I know it may sound like a contradiction to slam some computer games while shooting dinosaurs in another. All I can say is, go to a gaming store (or call them), ask one of the kids working there if Nanosaur is too violent and intense, and be prepared for the snickers. It is VERY lightweight as these things go. I refuse to play 99% of computer games - I don't want to get sucked in to that world - short of something with Barney, this is as tame as it gets. Also, boys are hard-wired to want to shoot things, hit things, break things, dig up things, etc. If my son wasn't shooting dinos, he'd be firing a laser blaster at a brother or two.]

I want to talk about the healing aspect of my last post, and how it ties in with gratitude.

The last post seemed kind of like a set-up or trick. I didn't mean it to be. I thought I was going to write about the frustration of knowing you're broken, wanting to be fixed, and then not getting immediate fixing by the Great Fixer. Believe me, I do feel this. Often. But it was interesting to see how the post shifted as I wrote (no notes or outlines for this BlogBoy). I am extremely good at being self-centered, and becoming whiny and self-absorbed about my problems (not the least of them being my whiny and self-absorbed ways) struck me as a luxury. A testimony to how few real, life and death problems I face.

Back in 1988 I got a call from my Dad. Mom has cancer - spread throughout her body. That is a real problem. Kind of burns away the other stuff quickly.

How does this tie in with gratitude? If I can look at my life now, and focus on what is right, what is beautiful, what is good, I think I am halfway to healing on the other stuff. Example: which is going to be more conducive to a good conversation with my wife - looking at her with gratitude that she chose me, loves me, and is committed to me, or looking at her with dissatisfaction that she still has lots of the faults that were there when we married? Good conversations with spouses foster intimacy. Intimacy nurtures love. Love hopes all things, believes all things, endures all things. I become other-centered, instead of self-centered. If my physical and emotional energies are focused on serving another, I don't spend that energy on myself, nurturing self-absorbtion and dysfunction. Conversely, my wife is doing the same. I get what I long for from her, she gets what she longs for from me. Life is good.

Reality check: this is not easy. I am lousy at this most of the time. But, if I can nurture gratitude, I will foster intimacy, which will lead to serving instead of taking. And I am walking the path of real healing a little bit each day, and the fact that healing takes so danged long matters less and less.

My gratitude index just ticked up to 9.


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