Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude remains the only focus of my writing at the start of each week, which for today is for my next-door neighbor Veronica and the small tokens of thanks she’s given me for the work I continue to do in her yard.
It’s been well established that I’m quite anal retentive when it comes to my own yard and gardens. For the most part, I really do enjoy the hard work I put into making it look as inviting as it seems to be for others. Most people probably don’t know though that I also maintain the front yards on either side of my home as well. On my left, I began doing that when the health of its owner went downhill a few years ago. On my right, I started doing it just a few months back after learning the tenant, that being Veronica, was working double shifts, going through a difficult break-up, and struggling with depression through it all. Because I have a lot of free time, I decided to help her out like I have been with my other neighbor. My only hope was that her seeing a tidy and well-manicured yard after the long days she puts in would brighten her spirit. As I’ve continued to maintain it, along with my other neighbor, as well as my own, I’ve been grateful just for the feeling it’s given me doing something selfless for others.
Sometimes, my selflessness has brought me small tokens of thanks from others. Last fall for example, when cleaning up a good majority of our entire street from all the leaves and debris before a huge storm came in, a neighbor gave me a little money, while another gave me a huge box of high-quality garbage bags after I had used all my own for the job. Honestly, I never expect anything from any of the work I do like this. After all, it’s something I’m doing just to help make life easier for others. Twice now though, that help has come back in small tokens of thanks from Veronica who gave me $40 on one occasion and a $50 gift card to Starbucks on another. And I was extremely grateful for it.
Ultimately, I’ve learned in life how important it is to do selfless work through my 12 Step recovery program. Giving away part of myself for the benefit of others, asking nothing in return, has been an incredible joy in my life and a stronghold for keeping sober. In my recovery world, that’s translated to me sponsoring others, running meetings, volunteering at local addiction recovery centers, and providing alcohol and drug education to both nursing and Greek students from the University of Toledo. Outside of that realm, it’s also translated to me helping out both of my neighbors by doing my best to make their front yards look very welcoming.
While I have never expected any gift or anything really from any of the selfless work I’ve done, it’s always a true blessing and joy to receive one when I do. So, thank you Veronica for saying thanks in a special way. It brightened my day, as much as my work in your front yard has seemed to brighten yours. I’m grateful to You today for thinking of me and I dedicate today’s Grateful Heart Monday to you…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson