Finding Gratitude

bubblesHer nickname was Bubbles.   She turned up in my regular 12-Step meeting, back when I attended mixed meetings (meeting with both men and women in attendance).   She wore bright pink or sunshine yellow hats with matching blazers adorned with pins featuring 12-Step sayings.   She had an infectious laugh and the ability to tell her story in a way that had you laughing uncontrollably one minute and teary-eyed thepity party next.   She could be a bit of a hard-liner and sometimes her idea of what constituted the Twelve Step Way of Life differed markedly from mine.   One of the things that happens when you choose to sit in 12-Step meetings is that you get to listen to … and talk with … people that you would avoid elsewhere.   Eccentric older women in bizarre outfits were definitely on my keep-away list.   And yet, I learned a great deal from Bubbles and we became friends of a sort.   Although I’d probably have said Don’t judge a book by it’s cover for most of my life, it was through 12-Step meetings that I discovered I could learn from virtually anyone.  That has changed my life.

Even after I began attending Men’s Meetings, I would see occasionally see Bubbles at 12-Step gatherings but we’ve both gotten older and she doesn’t get around as much as she used to.  I spoke to her last when my friend Stan passed away.   They were close friends but she was unable to attend his memorial service in the park because she wasn’t comfortable navigating the uneven terrain.  So, what brings Bubbles to Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog today?   I’m thinking about gratitude, which was one of Bubbles’ favorite topics.  She used to say, Gratitude isn’t a feeling, it’s an action.   Like many of the things I’ve heard in 12-Step meetings, that sounded like nonsense to me at first.  But her point was this: I can make a gratitude list whether I am feeling grateful or not.  I can put things on that list that I should be grateful for whether I’m actually feeling that way when I start.   I can consciously put things … like enough to eat or a roof over my head … on my list even though I normally take them for granted.   That is the point of making a gratitude list … it forces me to stop and look at the things I should be grateful for and even if the difficulties in my life remain unchanged, there’s a good chance that gratitude … the action … will morph into gratitude … the feeling.  And that can’t help but make my day better.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I have a list to make.  Having known Bubbles will be on it.

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One Comment on “Finding Gratitude”

  1. schutzelb Says:

    I guess you could say this post contains a lot of “fake it ’till you make it” sentiment, also. Enjoyed it. I, too, am and “old-fashioned seeker,” by the way.


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