Grateful Heart Monday

I’m not sure if this would be in anyone else’s top ten list of what to be grateful for, but having a roof over my head and a place to call home is definitely in mine and the very thing I chose to write about in today’s Grateful Heart Monday entry.

Just as an FYI, the last time a global survey was done to see how many people were homeless in the world, it was found to be over 100 million people back in 2005. I’m sure that number would today would be far larger. But, as recently as 2015, a separate study was conducted where it was estimated that at least 1.6 billion people lacked adequate housing on our planet. While I’m truly sad to learn these statistics, I do thank God I’ve never been able to count myself as one of them.

Not once in this lifetime have I ever found myself truly homeless, and in a city like Toledo, where I reside now and where the temperatures often fall into the negative digits during the winter like this one, I find myself being even more grateful to God. People die every day because of homelessness. Many of them tend to freeze to death in harsh climates like this. Others also die from poor health or from violent crimes they either resort to or are a victim of. So, when the wind chill has led to -10 degrees and more than once in recent weeks and where the snow and ice have piled up outside my front door just recently, I have really been thanking my Higher Power for providing me a place to keep me warm from all those frigid elements.

In turn, I have found great compassion for the many homeless people I come in contact with now, including at the place I volunteer every Wednesday for my 12th Step recovery work. There, the stories I regularly hear are heart-wrenching like people resorting to living in abandoned buildings with broken windows or on roach infested couches in drug homes or having to hop from one shelter to the next where sometimes they are even turned away.

I used to find it so easy to pass by those people on the streets holding those signs that say they’re homeless. How often I discounted them and simply assumed they were alcohol and drug users and needed to go get a job. I can’t do that anymore and instead am finding a lot more compassion for anyone who may be in a homeless situation because after all, I honestly can’t imagine myself standing on a corner in subzero temperatures trying to collect a few dollars to survive, especially in the state of health I’m currently in.

Nevertheless, God has always kept me warm with a roof over my head for the past 45 years of my life and for that, I’m truly thankful on this Grateful Heart Monday. Yet, at the same time, I find myself praying for everyone who can’t say the same, especially those who currently are dealing with homelessness themselves.

So, I pray that each of us who aren’t dealing with homelessness may find it within our hearts and souls to help anyone who is dealing with it in any way we can, even if it means simply offering a dollar to someone we might find ourselves passing by one day, standing on a corner, holding up a sign, during one of those harsh winter days…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude becomes the front and center priority and purpose for my blog. Having a heart of gratitude is so critical to living a life free of negativity. That being said, what I’m most grateful for today is my partner Chris.

Chris has continued to stand by my side through thick and thin, supporting me in ways that I never thought anyone would or could. Up until I met him, I was 100% self-supportive, so it never mattered to me much when people came and went out of my life. But shortly after meeting Chris, my health began to decline and I started having to ask for help in my life on a regular basis, which was quite humbling and still is. And, from day one, Chris has done just that and been an incredible help to me on so many-a-day, especially on those where I’ve just wanted to give up and check out. He has always unconditionally accepted me, even with my diminished health and keeps on doing so day in and day for six years now. In my book, that’s definitely something to take note of and to be grateful for, because I have dated plenty of others who probably would have walked away long ago out of sheer frustration and exhaustion over my ongoing struggles.

Beyond this personal support, I’d also like to mention how grateful I am to have witnessed Chris’s spiritual growth ever since initially meeting him. He has not only found a renewed connection to his Higher Power, but also taken many steps forward to becoming a leader. Recently, he’s stepped up in that department to run point on an upcoming retreat for a spiritual men’s organization we are both part of. During this four-day weekend, he’ll be the head kitchen coordinator who will guide a team that will prepare three meals a day for over sixty men.

Lastly, I think it’s important to mention as well how extremely proud and grateful I am for my partner in his quest to becoming healthier on the physical level. Chris has utilized the 12 Steps of recovery over the past few years to help him lose close to 100 pounds, which is such a huge achievement for him, given his family’s struggles with obesity. Because of his hard work, I’ve seen him become far more physically active in his life. And in a world where obesity is becoming more and more prevalent and causing many health issues, I’m very thankful my partner has slowly been overcoming it one day at a time.

So, thank You God for my partner Chris, for his love and support of me, for his renewed leadership in life, and for his dedication to becoming healthier mind, body, and soul.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Grateful Heart Monday

I’m so glad that I added this new category last week, because as I’m typing this, I haven’t been feeling much gratitude today and that is exactly when I know how important it becomes to find something to be grateful for.

That being said, what I’m most grateful for today is that I still have my eyesight and hearing. Knowing there are over 285 million people in this world who have disabling visual impairments and over 360 million people who have disabling hearing loss is something I’ve thought about quite a bit lately. Sadly, I think far too many people usually take things like their sight and hearing for granted until something happens that negatively affects one or the other with significant loss. I honestly can’t imagine a life where I wasn’t able to see God’s beautiful canvas anymore that’s around us all the time, like the flowing rivers here that soothe my soul every time I’m by one and find myself staring out into their churning waters. It’s also difficult to imagine a life where I wasn’t able to see the faces of those I love anymore like my partner, my sister and her family, or my dearest friends. Similarly, it’s just as hard to fathom a life where I couldn’t hear those sounds of nature anymore, like the roars of the ocean or the chatter from all the living creatures. And frankly, I definitely have a really hard time fathoming a life where I couldn’t hear the voices of those I love anymore, which also includes the purring and tiny meows I regularly adore from my cat. These are all things I once took for granted and never gave much thought to. But through all the suffering I’ve been through in recent years, I’ve discovered a pretty serious amount of gratitude for things like my eyesight and hearing, which I’m sure those 645 million people on this planet who are disabled with one or the other would gladly have restored. So, thank you God for my eyesight and hearing and for having a much greater appreciation for two things that I never used to.

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson

Grateful Heart Monday

Recently, I felt a push from my Higher Power to begin something new in my blog that I’m starting today and will be called “Grateful Heart Monday”. With Monday often proving to be a difficult day for so many to find any bit of gratitude, I’ll be using this day of the week from now on to write about one specific thing I’m personally grateful for and why. And it’s my hope that those who read this each week will then in turn come up with at least one thing that they too are grateful for on every Monday and will share what that is back with me.

Thus, moving forward, my gratitude for my first of many “Grateful Heart Monday” entries to come is this. I’m grateful to God that I’m still maintaining this blog, because as of January 14th, 2018, I hit a major milestone. It was on that day I achieved something I never thought I’d be able to, which was to write for five consecutive years. And with this specific entry, I’ve now published 1,844 days in a row, never once giving up on my writing, even when my ego has attempted to convince me at times it would be better to, like on those days when I’ve been in terrible health, or on those days when my articles have mostly gone unread, or even on those days when I’ve received negative comments about something I passionately wrote about. That’s a pretty large accomplishment for a former addict like me who used to rarely follow through on anything while in the deep throngs of plenty of addictions. But I must never take credit for that, for the only reason why I’ve been able to achieve five consecutive years of writing is due to the passion God has continuously given me for this. So, thank You God for helping me to keep writing, to never give up on myself with a talent I know you gave me, and to continue believing right on through my very first “Grateful Heart Monday” that I’m doing Your will and serving a Greater purpose with this very blog for as long as I have…

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson