Each day I make the choice to be grateful.  Easy? No. Necessary? Yes.

Our youth pastor of our church gave the message last Sunday.  And as this twenty-four year old man stood there and spoke from his life experiences every bone of my body wanted to dismiss him…because of my superior age and all…yet his words were Biblical.  There were references to scripture and he tied it all together nicely.  That’s the thing about The Word; The message never changes even though we occasionally would like to bend it to our needs.

mental health advocacy

The message was about grateful living.  Grateful for what we have and what we don’t.  Grateful in sickness and in health.  Grateful in good times and bad.  Grateful living is a choice.  And I began to let my mind wander…

There was a time when I was really good at not being grateful.  Born in the USA into a Johnson County, Kansas home.  I had a bright mind, boundless energy and… well, I was really good at counting my lack and not my abundance.

Look around you.  You have abundance everywhere.  Need water?  You don’t have to go the local stream with a bucket.  No, you walk to the tap and flip it on.  Heck, reading this you are utilizing  the internet and electricity and a computer thought nearly unimaginable just two generations ago.

We lost Emma officially on February 16, 2018.  Unofficially, we began to lose her a year and a half to two years earlier as mental health issues began to creep in and then ultimately consume her entire thought process.  At the top of it all?  Lack.  Victim thinking.  Anger.  Jealousy.

That’s how Borderline Personality Disorder made her see the world. BPD turned her closest allies in to her mortal enemies. And then would make her yo-yo back again.  I would often remind her to think positive. To be happy with what she had.  That we all loved her.  Those words would only irritate her more.  If you live with BPD in some form or fashion, you know of what I speak.

That was a real life mental health diagnosis for Emma.  For most of us, however, choosing to live gratefully is really a matter of internal discipline.  A wise coach once told me that “You may not be able to control your first thought but you can choose your second thought.” 

And I’d like to leave you with that.  That most of us really do have a choice.  We can make the choice to be grateful.  Choose wisely.