Grateful . . .

While growing up in my mid-teens or so, my sister and I would sit on the floor of her bedroom and play Rummy 500 for hours at a time. She always won, until one day when she told me her secret. We both knew the rules of the game, but there was a strategy to it. She said, “Always give up your most important card and you will always win for some reason.” It didn’t make sense to me - why would I want to give up my most important card if I wanted to win? But after losing a million & one times, I tried it. I started giving up my most valuable cards, and in return, I ended up receiving them back and then some. I then started winning. I guess that’s how it is in real life: when you give, you get back in return. And it’s not meant in a selfish way. To genuinely give in real life is rewarding in itself, but to see someone else happy and take joy in seeing that person happy, says a lot about who you are. And yes, it may be a “risk”, just like in Rummy 500 - but it’s a risk that you’ll never regret. I learned the hard way that if you loan something to someone, treat it as a gift and you’ll never be disappointed. Give without expectations. It’s a win-win situation.

“Give generously, for your gifts will return to you later.” ~Ecclesiastes 11:1

“If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving --large or small-- it will be used to measure what is given back to you.” ~Luke 6:38

Gratitude & Attitude
The scriptures above sound like the game of Rummy 500, but it’s so true. Looking back, when I was in my deepest depression, I had tons of pity parties for myself. “Why am I not further along? Why does everyone else have everything and I’m still here?” I was speaking more about where I was in life and very upset and angry about the stagnant place I found myself in. Nothing was changing...neither was my attitude. I had lost my faith, hope, and all means to be happy in the least bit. It reflected on how I treated others around me, and 98% of the time, I was just miserable to be around. People “felt” my vibes and when you’re around someone who is depressed or angry, you feel that - even if they pretend to be happy. It’s in the air somehow. I knew I needed an attitude adjustment, so I spent hours praying and meditating every single day. Although I wasn’t receiving any “gifts” or big hefty checks in the mail, I was starting to realize everything around me: my home, my loving wife, my family, friends, food in the fridge, a job I love, health and the most important of them all - my faith in God.

"God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say 'thank you'?" ~William A. Ward

Competition & Envy
Even if you are in the same work or situation as somebody else - never compete with someone, because you don’t know how bad they may have it in other areas of their life. You can only do the best you can do - and that’s all. Never want what someone else has. You may get what you wish for and be highly disappointed. Wouldn’t it be interesting if we could live somebody else’s life who we admire for one day and see what it’s really like? There’s a story that I love so much that puts many things in perspective for me. 

Is Your Cross Too Heavy to Bear?

The young man was at the end of his rope. Seeing no way out, he dropped to his knees in prayer. "Lord, I can't go on," he said. "I have too heavy of a cross to bear." The Lord replied, "My son, if you can't bear its weight, just place your cross inside this room. Then, open that other door and pick out any cross you wish." The man was filled with relief. "Thank you, Lord," he sighed, and he did as he was told. Upon entering the other door, he saw many crosses, some so large the tops were not visible. Then, he spotted a tiny cross leaning against a far wall. "I'd like that one, Lord," he whispered. And the Lord replied, "My son, that is the cross you just brought in."

For me, life is all about giving, sharing with one another and being grateful for what you have right at this very moment. It’s about thanking God for all you have, and thanking Him in advance for what’s to come, because without faith, life would be least for me.

“Envy is a symptom of lack of appreciation of our own uniqueness and self worth. Each of us has something to give that no one else has.” ~Author unknown

“You can’t be envious and happy at the same time.” ~Frank Tyger

"Give. Remember always to give. That is the one thing that will make you grow." ~Elizabeth Taylor

I'd like to thank Elizabeth Taylor for inspiring this post. May she rest in peace...

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