Welcome to Grateful Heart Monday, a time for reflection upon a single piece of gratitude from my life, which for today is for a gift I feel God has given me to help people feel comfortable enough opening up to me about many parts of their lives, who might not normally do otherwise with the vast majority of others.
Over the years, I’ve definitely come across plenty who initially come across quite distant, closed-minded, and overly superficial in conversation. Yet, in me just being me, I’ve watched as so many of them have opened up about various parts of themselves that have often never been shared with others. I’ve also seen how this has helped them, as much as it’s helped me in the process, as I’m grateful anytime I feel like I’m making a positive difference in anyone’s life.
Like for example, recently someone I honestly didn’t know really at all, other than through a Facebook conversation or two, told me how much they were truly struggling with their life and didn’t know how to keep going. They shared how alone they felt and even at one point had talked about a very painful childhood experience where they were taken advantage of around the age of 14. I was very thankful when they told me how much it meant to them and I was grateful that I had held space for this person for at least our brief connection, as I know it helped them feel slightly less alone in their world.
I feel this gift falls under the 12th Step work I do in the world of recovery from addictions. And while the 12th Step work doesn’t necessarily always apply to those with addictions, it is a part of the step itself. As the 12th Step says, “Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all areas of our lives.” And for me that means to be a vessel, as best as I can, who’s there to help those who might be broken, hurt, or suffering, by simply remaining judgment free, by sharing the pain of my past that I’ve been able to heal from, and to show unconditional love no matter what.
Sometimes in me using this gift, I’ve seen incredible spiritual transformations begin in others. Other times I’ve developed great friendships out of it. And for even those times when an individual has opened up with me and then quickly disappeared from my life out of it being too uncomfortable for them, usually because they feel they’ve shared too much, I’m still blessed in knowing that at least for a moment, I was able to help shine some light into their own darkness.
So, I am filled with gratitude for continuing to work with this gift, to help others feel safe with me enough to go deeper in conversation, who might not normally be that way with others, and I pray that God continues to guide me in further developing this gift for His purposes and His purposes alone.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson