How to Feel Better About Everything…in 5 Minutes!
Dear fierce ones,
My own fresh chicken eggs!
Lately, I must confess that this “Little Miss Sunshine” has been fighting a bad case of feeling “down in the dumps”.
I think it has a great deal to do with my emotional vulnerability at laying it all out there in raw form…It’s well…it’s scary as shit. I mean…there are moments when I feel like I am falling…(That’s the WORST)…except I also really hate the paralyzed and helpless feeling…the empty feeling of loss, or the feelings of excruciating pain as I relive some of my most painful experiences.
Some days it is hard to find my joy. I become easily exhausted…I know you understand, the feeling of just being drained after some sort of traumatic event…you need a debrief moment. All this to say I needed to cheer myself up…and so I gave myself a little gratitude challenge.
Honestly…I really needed to because I felt so …YUCK!
I felt so yucky…I gave myself a little lecture and said…”you need to start being thankful”…
When I was 9 years old, I read the true story of Corrie ten Boom. She was a Dutch watchmaker and Christian who, along with her family, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II. She was imprisoned for her actions.
Corrie TenBoom wrote The Hiding Place to tell her life story. I have NEVER forgotten this book. It was such an incredible story. One story she tells the book especially impacted me. It was a story about gratitude. The lesson I learned at nine was… Always be thankful…so, I knew I needed to start being thankful and joy would come…so I began to be thankful…I started out just like a kid…slightly exasperated but obedient…(you know what I am talking about).
So, I say…”I am thankful for my health”…”I am thankful for my kids"…"I am thankful for food to eat and that I don’t have to make dinner tonight, and I am thankful I have chickens cause they are so fun”
While I continue to focus on being thankful, here is that story that impacted my life at 9 years old, that I have never forgotten...
An excerpt from “The Hiding Place” by Corrie TenBoom…
We lay back, struggling against the nausea that swept over us from the reeking straw.
..Suddenly I sat up, striking my head on the cross-slats above. Something had pinched my leg.
“‘Fleas!’ I cried. ‘Betsie, the place is swarming with them!’
“‘Here! And here another one!’ I wailed. ‘Betsie, how can we live in such a place!’
“‘Show us. Show us how.’ It was said so matter of factly it took me a second to realize she was praying. More and more the distinction between prayer and the rest of life seemed to be vanishing for Betsie.
“‘Corrie!’ she said excitedly. ‘He’s given us the answer! Before we asked, as He always does! In the Bible this morning. Where was it? Read that part again!’
“I glanced down the long dim aisle to make sure no guard was in sight, then drew the Bible from its pouch. ‘It was in First Thessalonians,’ I said. We were on our third complete reading of the New Testament since leaving Scheveningen.
“In the feeble light I turned the pages. ‘Here it is: “Comfort the frightened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all…'” It seemed written expressly to Ravensbruck.
“‘Go on,’ said Betsie. ‘That wasn’t all.’
“‘Oh yes:’…”Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.'”
“‘That’s it, Corrie! That’s His answer. “Give thanks in all circumstances!” That’s what we can do. We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about this new barracks!’ I stared at her; then around me at the dark, foul-aired room.
“‘Such as?’ I said.
“‘Such as being assigned here together.’
“I bit my lip. ‘Oh yes, Lord Jesus!’
“‘Such as what you’re holding in your hands.’ I looked down at the Bible.
“‘Yes! Thank You, dear Lord, that there was no inspection when we entered here! Thank You for all these women, here in this room, who will meet You in these pages.’
“‘Yes,’ said Betsie, ‘Thank You for the very crowding here. Since we’re packed so close, that many more will hear!’
She looked at me expectantly. ‘Corrie!’ she prodded.
“‘Oh, all right. Thank You for the jammed, crammed, stuffed, packed suffocating crowds.’
“‘Thank You,’ Betsie went on serenely, ‘for the fleas and for–‘
“The fleas! This was too much. ‘Betsie, there’s no way even God can make me grateful for a flea.’
“‘Give thanks in all circumstances,’ she quoted. It doesn’t say, ‘in pleasant circumstances.’ Fleas are part of this place where God has put us.
“And so we stood between tiers of bunks and gave thanks for fleas. But this time I was sure Betsie was wrong.”
“Back at the barracks we formed yet another line–would there never be an end to columns and waits?–to receive our ladle of turnip soup in the center room. Then, as quickly as we could for the press of people, Betsie and I made our way to the rear of the dormitory room where we held our worship “service.” Around our own platform area there was not enough light to read the Bible, but back here a small light bulb cast a wan yellow circle on the wall, and here an ever larger group of women gathered.
“They were services like no others, these times in Barracks 28.
“At first Betsie and I called these meetings with great timidity. But as night after night went by and no guard ever came near us, we grew bolder. So many now wanted to join us that we held a second service after evening roll call.
There on the Lagerstrasse we were under rigid surveillance, guards in their warm wool capes marching constantly up and down. It was the same in the center room of the barracks: half a dozen guards or camp police always present. Yet in the large dormitory room there was almost no supervision at all. We did not understand it.
“One evening I got back to the barracks late from a wood-gathering foray outside the walls. A light snow lay on the ground and it was hard to find the sticks and twigs with which a small stove was kept going in each room. Betsie was waiting for me, as always, so that we could wait through the food line together. Her eyes were twinkling.
“‘You’re looking extraordinarily pleased with yourself,’ I told her.
“‘You know, we’ve never understood why we had so much freedom in the big room,’ she said. ‘Well–I’ve found out.’
“That afternoon, she said, there’d been confusion in her knitting group about sock sizes and they’d asked the supervisor to come and settle it.
“But she wouldn’t. She wouldn’t step through the door and neither would the guards. And you know why?”
“Betsie could not keep the triumph from her voice: ‘Because of the fleas! That’s what she said, “That place is crawling with fleas!'”
“My mind rushed back to our first hour in this place. I remembered Betsie’s bowed head, remembered her thanks to God for creatures I could see no use for.” by Corrie tenBoom
She was thankful for fleas, in a barracks at Ravensbruck, because she risked her life to help Jews. She wasn't even Jewish or German...but actually Dutch and her entire country was invaded by war...and she was imprisoned in a concentration camp and that is just a tiny taste of the horrible things that happened to her and yet... after ALL the unbelievable torture she had already suffered and endured...she somehow ...SOMEHOW finds it within her heart to thank God for the fleas.
This story has impacted my entire life and has compelled me to be thankful…no matter what. Her story is unforgettable because she and her family suffered such unimaginable grief and torture.
”And they produce eggs and I just really love my chickens, they are such a source of joy” (I am still focusing on being thankful)
While I continued to PRACTICE GRATITUDE and focus on how blessed I am, I suddenly laughed out loud as I remembered something hilarious that happened this week …
I was at work, talking to my charge nurse on the phone…(the phone I am currently holding is an important tip for understanding what happens next)…And I said “please page him to my number…wait…where is my phone?” I frantically checked my pockets and was thinking in my head “I just had my phone, where did it go?”…Meanwhile, I am literally talking on the darn thing! Sheesh! This humiliation could have been my own private shame if only the anesthesiologist wasn’t standing right behind me and witnessed me saying “I can’t find my phone” …he said to me with a slight hint of humour “Isn’t that your phone…the thing that you are holding in your hand and are currently talking on?” and I instantly felt like I am going to die of embarrassment and shame, My face flamed hot, my throat constricted and went dry, and I felt the edges of tunnel vision...(I mean...OMG!!! How embarrassing!)
Right before I hung my head in complete and total shame...I caught the twinkle in his eye and our eyes met and in a split second of mutual connection, we were suddenly sharing an incredible belly laugh together…I literally almost peed my pants! I almost fell off the chair and tears rolled down my cheeks. It was that embarrassing and hilarious all at the same time.
I was so thankful he thought it was funny and didn’t use it as an opportunity to make me feel like a complete idiot as some people would have.
I felt genuine gratitude and joy because he found it hilarious and he actually thanked me for the belly laugh afterward, and we both walked away from that encounter with a bounce in our step, and a slight grin on each of our faces. I will admit to rosy cheeks for the rest of the day as I re-lived that moment over and over throughout the day and felt the same flash of emotions each time in rapid succession…
I tell you what…the rest of my day had been made!
Funny how that worked…
Happiness isn’t in your circumstances…it’s created in your heart when you find gratitude in the fleas and in our sometimes embarrassing circumstances.
Practicing gratitude is an easy and wonderful way to find happiness in your life right now.
Thank-you for reading and allowing me to share my journey with you.
My love and gratitude to all of you fierce ones reading this article.
Find your gratitude.
Find your fierce
Take the journey.