# FWF Gratitude, Kellie Elmore

wonderful nature have a nice weekend and a bea...

wonderful nature have a nice weekend and a beautiful 3.advent dear friends (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Listen, Love, Give Thanks

It was my birthday last month, I bought myself a small cup of creamy coffee with a crisp twenty-dollar bill and whispered to the cashier “let others use it up until it runs out” she looked at me with a blank stare. That was a birthday present to myself, the best kind. I felt happy to be able to do a small act of kindness. I walked out grinning. Giving. Joy. Love.

Today is dreary, rainy, and glum. I have turned my loud music off, there is no noise in my room except the ringing in my ears, the sound of my fingertips on the keyboard and airline jets flying overhead in the sky. I imagine they are traveling to exotic places: Bali, Greece, Japan? A couple of newlyweds are on their way to their honeymoon, holding hands and sipping champagne, kissing each others pink lips lightly. I was young once too.

The rest of the next hour is a gift. I have the luxury of peace and I relax on my bed with my sweet red dog, Lexi, wrapped around my legs. Every day has been long, arduous, bringing some medical testing, and waiting for results, a flat tire, silly and stressful things. Finally, Friday, I get results, I can give thanks that all has ended well. I send hope and light to my friend who is also facing challenges, we haven’t talked in years but now we talk daily. Support, Understanding, Old Friends.

I listen to the sound of my breathing and try to slow it down. Inhale slowly, Exhale slowly. The weather is damp and my arms ache with soreness just from raising them, my body is the barometer for all things; fellow patients with Fibromyalgia nod their heads “YES.” We understand when the weather changes before the news weather forecasters have any idea. What a waste of a job, why not just hire us at a fifth of the cost? Many pillows prop me up like a hospital patient, fully clothed, drowned in six comforters for warmth. I try to release pain and tightness from every limb, bone, muscle. I try. It doesn’t work. I’ve accepted that, there is no room in my life to fight. With age there is wisdom, I’m grateful for that.

Maybe I don’t have the highs and joy that we used to have in the past, a gratifying status of being “Mom” with sticky kisses and playing with cars or having tea parties, those days are far gone. But, I did have them once, a long time ago. It is not the good times we had in the past but also not the bad times that may await us in the future. I can’t possibly complain. Yes, my husband was laid off and I haven’t been in the best of health for the last seven years but we are dealing with the situation. A word of advice: Just count your blessings and not your sorrows. Thank G-d, Nature, or Angels, whatever you believe in, that you are alive TODAY. Enjoy today as much as you can because we cannot count on a tomorrow.

Embrace your spouse/partner or friend, child, mom, dad, grandparent and give thanks for what you do have and don’t waste a minute focusing on what you don’t have. Hug your cat or dog, Buy a present for someone you don’t like, maybe there is a reason why they are so cranky, see what happens. Everyone has a story, listen. There is always someone who has it worse than you do.We are relatively healthy, our adult children are coming home for a visit and we will have a turkey on the table for Thanksgiving. We give thanks for what we have.

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Carry on Tuesday

English: Rainbow flag flapping in the wind wit...

English: Rainbow flag flapping in the wind with blue skies and the sun. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Midway in life’s journey…

“My name is Joey, I’m thirty years old, married with a daughter named Sophia. We are a good family but sure we have more than our share of ups and downs. Who is happy all the time, right? I mean I know we aren’t. I never thought I would turn thirty, have a family and be out of a job but the economy sucks. I was laid off from my writing job at Music Magazine, a place where I have worked for over five years. Five loyal years of my life and now they lay me off. I hate my life now. My wife is a lawyer and we can pay the mortgage but that’s just not it. I put hours and hours in this damn company, screw the economy. “It’s not personal” my boss said, ”we’re laying off 20 people.” Is that supposed to make ME feel better? It doesn’t.

As if it wasn’t bad enough, my wife, Gabrielle and I have been fighting non-stop, I’m not even sure what we fight about anymore.  Gabby and I have been going at each other since we met, at least that’s how it feels to me. Sometimes, I feel furious when I even think of her and I don’t know why. Well, maybe I know. That’s when I feel my heart speed up and I scream out loud, I’ve even put a few holes through the wall but I am in no way proud of that, trust me.

Been hanging around with my friends Steve and Jack more, since I don’t have to be anywhere in the mornings. We usually go to bars or to the ballgame or just hand out at their house watching television.. It was really funny, last night we went to a gay bar. Steve and Jack are a couple and they asked me if I wanted to go. I  thought ‘why not?’ So we went in and after a while, a few guys asked me to dance. Of course, Steve and Jack were egging me on so I thought it would be fun. I danced and it was a blast. I felt free and I felt happy, happier than I have been in a long time.

I left the bar at 3 am and was not looking forward to Gabrielle’s interrogation, God, I hate that. She’s not my mother you know, I’m a grown up and can go out with my friends if I want to. Sure enough, she was sitting up in bed, her dark brown eyes looked black with fury. She starts screaming about “courtesy and marriage, and “why didn’t I call? ” Yeah, I know, I screwed up by not calling but after her screaming at me for so long, I stopped caring. Enough is enough. Everything inside me froze.

I’m midway in my life’s journey for my own truth and happiness and as I stood up from the bed something clicked in my head. That always happens when I have a very important thought or if I have reached my limit or made a very important decision. I didn’t say a word and Gabby was still screaming at me. Calmly, I went to the closet and got our old navy blue suitcase and started packing. I couldn’t speak but I cried, tears streaming down my face. Gabby didn’t even notice that I was crying which says a lot.

I started sobbing and shaking violently so I sat in my armchair, put my face in my hands and wrapped my arms around myself. I was moving side to side like a pendulum. Gabby was suddenly silent. She didn’t even ask if I was ill or was having a heart attack, she just sat there and stared. Through my cries of distress and anguish I managed to say “I’m so sorry Gabby, I’m so, so sorry” over and over again. Her face looked as if it had aged ten years. “You’ve always been suspicious and I’ve always denied it but I can’t anymore. I deserve to live a full and happy life.””Gabby” I continued, “I’m gay.”

The words lingered in the air, floating around the room like a helium balloon. Finally, I was able to let out a deep sigh, I felt so bad about hurting her but I felt amazingly light inside myself. “I will make sure to see Sophia, but don’t ask me to change who I really am.”  “I’m a gay man and I’ve lived a lie,” “but I can’t live with myself any longer playing this game. I love you and our daughter but it’s time now, truly time, for me to love myself.” With that, I lifted the suitcase, went to Sophia’s room and kissed her sleepy head and then slowly walked out and locked the door behind me.”