Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to this week’s Grateful Heart Monday entry, where gratitude continues to be the only focus of my writing to start each week off on a positive note, which for today is for all those who continue to read this blog, especially those who’ve found any guidance, direction, or connection from my words for their own spiritual journey in life.

While my blog’s main purpose has always been to help me on my own spiritual journey by getting my thoughts down on something that has become quite akin to my online diary, it has not gone unnoticed that a number of people have been reading the musings from my life from time to time, and some even every daily as well. That alone has been absolutely something to be grateful for in my life.

With today’s Grateful Heart Monday, which actually marks my 2,709thentry since I began it, I’ve received a significant number of blessings over the years from so many different individuals through various emails, comments on my reposting’s on Facebook, private messages, and comments left on my blog’s actual site as well. Some of those have even come on days when I’ve most needed them, often when I’ve actually been considering taking my site down and calling it quits. But for whatever the reason, it seems as if God wants me to continue writing in my online diary of sorts, because just when I think the expense of maintaining it isn’t worth it anymore, I’m quickly reminded by one of my readers how much they’ve been touched by something I wrote.

For the life of me, I normally don’t often understand how God uses me in this world for God’s purposes, but if there’s one thing I do know that’s been made quite clear where God has, it’s this blog. Based upon the overwhelming positive feedback I’ve received over the seven years since its inception, I’m exceptionally grateful to know that God has been using it to bless others. If there’s one goal I have in life, it’s to help others on their spiritual journeys in any way I can, so to know I’m actually blessing another individual by simply writing in my online diary of sorts, it makes me feel incredible gratitude.

So, for all of you out there, who have ever read even one of my articles, thank you! I’m grateful for each of you.

For all of you out there, who have ever left me some form of positive feedback for any of my writings in this blog, thank you! I’m grateful for each of you.

And for all of you out there, who have ever become encouraged, gained direction, or felt that my online musings have positively impacted you in some way, thank you! I’m grateful for each of you.

I’m truly filled with an immense amount of gratitude to know that this blog has been received as well as it has with so many individuals over the years, which is why I’m dedicating today’s Grateful Heart Monday entry to each of my readers, I’m blessed and thankful for you all!

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Thank you for checking out my Grateful Heart Monday series today, where the only focus of my writing is on gratitude, which for today is for something I never thought I’d be grateful for, that being all the physical pain I’ve endured for the past ten years.

Sounds crazy right? How can I actually be grateful for the very thing that’s brought about so much sadness and suffering to my life over the past decade. It’s quite simple really and all it took was taking a hard pause to remember how insane my life was prior to 2010, before the onset of it all.

You see, prior to 2010, I was mostly self-absorbed, selfish, self-centered, and focused on pleasing my own needs, wants, and desires before anyone else’s. On the outside, my actions tended to show this, which anyone who got close to me usually saw in a relatively short period of time. While deep down I did have a good heart, sadly, it was constantly covered over by addiction, fear, and plenty of walls I threw up to protect it. Essentially, I lived in self-preservation mode on a consistent basis because of all the pain I endured from my childhood.

When my adulthood began with my first year out of college in 1995, the same year I got sober, quit drugs, gave up smoking, and came out of the closet to my family, I had plenty of existing mental and emotional pain staring at me now in my face from all that childhood baggage. Baggage from growing up in an alcoholic family, from constantly getting bulled, and from being molested as well. Life after that became a whirlwind of seeking one pleasure after another for the next fifteen years to avoid dealing with any of it and to keep people away from my heart. I covered it up even more after the tragic deaths of both of my parents. While there were a few moments here and there where I actually allowed people to connect to my heart and where I briefly placed myself second to others, overall, I never allowed it to last and I rarely kept myself humbled. If anything, I lived the exact opposite more than not.

But, pain of any kind usually has a way of achieving the impossible, especially when it comes to physical pain, and especially when one doesn’t take any medications to cover it up like I didn’t. As each year passed with me enduring greater and greater levels of physical pain without relief, something slowly began to shift within me, a softening of sorts, or maybe a lessening of all those walls I had thrown up around my heart. Basically, as my pain levels grew, the greater my desire rose to release all that baggage that could be adding to it. And the more I worked through it, the more my heart opened. And the more my heart opened, the more my level of compassion for others did as well. Until eventually, I started to realize I was caring more for others than ever before, specifically those going through their own bouts of pain and suffering.

The fact is, my whole world has positively been affected today because of all the physical pain I’ve gone through. On some level, I really am a better person because of it. It’s kind of insane though to think I needed to go through so much physical pain to change me into a person who’s more selfless, kind, caring, compassionate, and truly concerned for those going through their own painful struggles. The reality was that my heart was buried below walls of resentments, anger, and fear and nothing was breaking through it, nothing that is until I spent the better part of a decade of my life enduring one physical pain after another that slowly eroded each of all those walls around my heart and removed all that baggage that had kept me from becoming a much better person.

While I may not like how long I’ve had to go through it all, I can see now why I had to go through it, because the heart I have today is one that would have never emerged without it, which is why today’s Grateful Heart Monday is dedicated to my physical pain and all the good it’s brought me overall…

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, where every entry is always an expression of some piece of gratitude from my life to start my week off on a positive note, which for today is for my twin 18-year-old nephews, Noah and Jacob, who just graduated from Northwood Academy in Summerville, South Carolina.

Originally, I was planning on being with them for their graduation weekend to cheer them on as they picked up their diplomas, but due to COVID-19, social distancing, and a variety of other family complications, I didn’t end up making the trip there, much to my dismay. When I learned shortly thereafter that their school was only allowing the immediate family to attend the graduation ceremony anyway, it didn’t make me feel any better, as I really just wanted to be there in person to support my nephews, even if it had meant I was only going to be able see them after the ceremony was over. Regardless, when my sister let me know that through the modern marvels of technology, I could still watch them graduate via Facebook Live, my ego initially got the best of me. Out of sheer anger and resentment, I told myself I was going to boycott it. Thankfully, my 12 Step recovery program and my Higher Power are much stronger than my ego nowadays, because as the clock struck 3pm this past Saturday, I went with the urgings of my Spirit and clicked the link my sister had sent me to actually watch their graduation.

While I wouldn’t recommend doing what I did as I watched the ceremony, which was driving to a prior engagement to see a friend of mine who lived over an hour away, I was truly grateful I did it anyway. That small voice that had convinced me not to miss this opportunity, even from afar, was surely something I felt gratitude for. Nevertheless, watching them walk into the very same auditorium I had once been with them during a church service a few years prior, brought back some familiarity and connection. I smiled as each of them passed by the cameraperson videoing the entire event and felt a rush of warm love and proudness being their Uncle. I had to chuckle a little as well, as the goofy facial expression on Noah reminded me so much of the one I probably had on my face when I was about to graduate from high school, one that most likely looked a little cocky in nature, but one also well-deserved for all the years of hard work that had led up to it.

Next came the initial prayers and speeches from the principal, the salutatorian, and the valedictorian, and as I waited with baited breath for the names of students to begin being called, it wasn’t long before I heard Jacob Allen Curry roll across the microphone. As he walked up on stage I learned he had been high honors in his class, which I didn’t know, and that was absolutely something I felt gratitude for. Before he left the stage, he stood there for a picture, which thankfully once again due to the modern marvels of technology, I took a screenshot on my phone leaving me a nice snapshot almost as if I had been there taking it. Next in line was of course his brother Noah Andrew Curry. If there is one thing I’ve always admired about Noah is how much he and I are alike, in posture, in attitude, in outward appearance, in behaviorisms and more. Noah definitely commands attention wherever he goes and has an air of confidence, which always brings a smile to my face whenever I see that because of how much I at times can be just like that. And once again before he left the stage, I was able to grab another snapshot with him and his diploma in hand grinning from ear to ear.

When the ceremony drew to a close after the rest of their classmates received their diplomas, I watched as they all turned their tassels in the opposite direction to now show they were graduates. It brought back fond memories from long ago of when I did the same and gratitude for Noah and Jacob having finally completed high school, knowing many others have often not made it and dropped out.

As my nephews headed out of the auditorium and the ceremony officially came to an end, the only feeling I had at that point was gratitude, not just for them finally graduating of course, but also for the fact that my Spirit and my 12 Step Program had triumphed instead of my ego. Because in all honestly, I couldn’t imagine how I’d feel if my ego had won out that day and convinced me to skip it, which is why I chose to dedicate today’s Grateful Heart Monday to my nephews Noah and Jacob, for their graduation from high school, and for actually still getting to see it…

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