Gratitude--I'm reminded to be ever grateful to God in all matters!
And I know it is not easy without reminders such as the young nursing student, Jean Patrick, from Haiti, now a U.S. citizen. Jean Patrick has helped me three days this week--his only week off from coursework; and he also works every weekend at a nursing facility, and works part-time at the college helping other ESL students with their studies. Even with that schedule, a hospital calls him hoping he can come in during his week between quarters, to do night shifts.
Jean Patrick's first name is "Evangelist". He is filled with the Holy Spirit and filled with enthusiasm. He marvels that people tend to remember him--such as a professor who saw him walking by and bought him lunch. I pointed out to Jean Patrick that a student such as he is lifts up teachers who otherwise are used to most students not being as hard-working and joyful as he is.
People are drawn to Jean Patrick.
I mentioned to him the other day how he inspires me to smile more, even when in solitude. Also, he and I love to work at whatever task is before us; but my attitude is not always in gratitude mode due to fairly heavy-duty, constant pain. Today I became "grumpy" (I term it that--when I can tell I'm becoming tense from too much pain and some little aspect such as the Jean Patrick accidentally doing something that did not quite need to be done just then, causing my truck's tailgate to come off. It would take both of us to put it back on--a bit heavy it is--and my back was already on high pain alert.
I told JP how my grandson had done it, also, and it can happen to anyone. I also told him that my pain level is higher (we've been doing hard work here!), and that he can probably tell that I am struggling to not be grumpy. With that, I was able to make an act of the will to return to praising God and being very grateful for all the blessings--especially that JP was helping me re-gravel the drive.
While it is easy, or so it seems, to be absorbed in negativity, there are actually a majority of positives throughout our days and nights. When I consider how delightful are the employees at the gravel pit, and how our relationship has developed in the three days I've been driving to get yet another truck load of washed 5/8" chip gravel, or the two loads of pea gravel which JP and I off-loaded and dumped in the vegetable-orchard area for paths and such--well, what lovely people to encounter who work at the gravel pit! And what a blessing to have the various types of gravel for the different aspects that make the property look so lovely.
Jean Patrick is so pleased when I take his photo in front of the finished front drive, or by the path we excavated and buried soaker hose in a pipe under the path so water would not seep into the ground by the cellar door. He is delighted with the box of Chicken Chimichangas that I purchased for him to take back to his apartment. After a day of hard work, we were yet laughing as we loaded my truck (named Precious Blood) for a dump run.
The advice we read or hear about surrounding ourselves with positive people, is good advice. Of course, it is not always possible. Some people are simply not positive, not pleasant, not appreciative nor seeking to be joyful or grateful.
Yet I try to be one such person who others will find pleasant in our encounters, brief though they be. As a consecrated Catholic hermit, I try to make myself more aware of my presence--and if the pain is rugged, I know to simply explain the problem--which helps the other to know that I am not intentionally being tense or grumpy. But mostly verbalizing it, reminds me to make more effort, to pray and make an act of the will, to be pleasant and exude gratitude for God and those around me.
I'm sure my battle with rather heavy, constant pain (and horrible pain sieges without notice--periodically) will be always one of my greatest challenges to try to learn to be grateful and pleasant as humanly possible when the pain level rises. I don't even know if I will succeed fully, but at least I try. Gratitude is basic for one who loves God--for God has given me all good, and even the suffering He allowed nearly 34 years ago that has continued all these years and will until my soul departs this temporal body, had a good purpose. God let me know why; but even so it is a challenge to remember to be ever grateful.
Thanks be to God!