We all adopt attitudes towards situations. The attitude or stance we take on things can greatly affect the way we handle things and that in turn determines the direction in which we move – either forwards – to embrace the change and overcome obstacles, or backwards to retreat into a place of possible anger bitterness, frustration and despair. I am by no means saying that I have never felt anger or despair or that one shouldn’t ever feel these emotions. I have felt both emotions acutely BUT once I had worked through the issues, I chose to not ‘reserve’ a seat for either of these ‘passengers’ as I continued journeying forwards. Believe you me, bitterness and despair are two companions that would just love to come along for the ride if we let them.
An attitude of gratitude is one that will ALWAYS come in handy, and it is one that can be cultivated and is far more constructive! It looks at things and circumstances and says, I choose to look at what I do have and not what I am lacking. It sees the good and bad in life, but chooses to focus on the good and be grateful for even the bad (this may take a little time), as that will ultimately be used for one’s good later on, if we will let it (easier said than done, but so very true). Muscles develop and grow stronger when exercised regularly and similarly it pays to do a regular daily gratitude workout (it shows in your character).
On the topic of gratitude, I am blessed with a wealth of friendships for which my joy is indiscribable. I have a friendship garden overflowing with beautiful ‘buds’ that provide my life with the sweet nectar and beauty of companionship, connection and care.
Recently I felt the desire to honour some wonderful women and say a heartfelt thank you for the role that they play in my life. I am so grateful for the tender love and nurture they have shown me, especially during my journey of recovery after the hijack. Each friend has touched and impacted my life in a unique and special way. As I look back over the last three years, I remember the friend who mimicked my every movement and when I was too weak to lift my head from the pillow and talk, she lay absolutely motionless alongside me with her head as flat against the pillow as mine was. When I cried, she cried. When I rested, she rested. When I laughed, she laughed. She saw and heard things that nobody else ever will. She didn’t try to fix me, she just let me be at the place where I needed to be – oh what a blessing, she was and still is.
Equally special were the friends that showered me with flowers and notes and gifts and prayers. Then there were the friends who were there for me when I was strong enough to be up and about. They were the ones that took me on long walks, picnic outings and on coffee dates to probably every coffee shop in Port Elizabeth (not all at once). I have a beauty therapist/friend who lovingly massaged my body with special oils and still does when I am having a rough day (I do still have them every now and then). I have another friend who pops around from time to time and delights in buying me headbands and pretty dresses. She always says, ‘I was at the shops and I thought of you when I saw this. It’s so you!’ Wow, how special is that? And I am also grateful for the very special friend who didnt take offence when I twice omitted (unintentionally ) to include her in a special celebration. When I forgot to invite her to my ‘Cayly is going to France’ party, not only did she not take an offence, she arrived the next day with a French chocolate gateau and my favourite bible story Esther translated into French! Wow, such graciousness! How can one not be grateful for such friendships?!
So, I wanted to celebrate the lives of these friends, BIG time. I took great delight in planning something out of the ordinary for these extraordinary and special-special ladies. I took into account that it is currently Summer and that the South African evenings are balmy and beautiful. I have a love of all things vintage so I decided to have an outdoor movie night and screen an Audrey Hepburn classic, along with popcorn machine, chocolate fountain and classic cola bottles. Before screening the movie, I called up each women and shared with the group how we met and what they mean to me. These felt like sacred moments! After that, we filled brown packets with popcorn and made ourselves comfortable on the brightly coloured blankets and scatter cushions and settled into some serious movie viewing under the stars. What a celebration it was! The weather was magical, my friends were their ever special selves, the candles flickered, the popcorn popped and it felt as though time stood still! I wanted the night to celebrate my friends and make them feel blessed, but ultimately it was I, who was blessed, and I am so grateful!
This makes me think of a beautiful song that we often sing in church that literally gives my goosebumps goosebumps. It is called 10 000 reasons by Matt Redman, and was awarded two Grammy awards this week. It reminds of how many reasons I have to be grateful.
a very grateful Cayly