Daily Reflection

“I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining. I believe in love, even when not feeling it. I believe in God, even when He is silent.” (Written anonymously on the wall of a cellar by a Jewish individual in the Cologne concentration camp during World War 2)

When I saw today’s quote sitting framed on a bathroom countertop at a church I had just attended an AA meeting at recently, I was really moved by it. Learning later that it was actually written anonymously by a Jewish individual imprisoned in a concentration camp during World War 2 moved me even more. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fathom the depths of darkness and despair all those that were placed in concentration camps like this person must have felt on a daily basis. What I can relate to though is knowing my own form of darkness and despair that has come my way via my health many years ago and plagued me incredibly ever since, especially the last few years.

Like this Jewish prisoner so eloquently put, I have struggled these last few years to feel the sun shining warmly and favorably upon me. I have struggled even greater with feeling unconditional love for others and even myself. But I have struggled the most with feeling that God is still there for me, as its most definitely felt like He’s been on full radio silence with me. Yet, in each of these cases, I know the sun still shines on me, that I’m still a deeply loving person, and that God hasn’t abandoned me and still has a beautiful plan for me. How do I know this?

Faith.

Faith is something I’ve come to know a lot more about this year more than any other year of my life. Even through massive days where I have felt nothing but that dark night of the soul, my faith has kept the image of the sun shining alive within my heart. It’s also kept the love I have for others and myself from evaporating from within me as well. But what my faith has done the most, has kept me believing that God is still with me, protecting me, and guiding me, even when I don’t feel I can see or hear Him anymore.

While I may not ever experience the depths of darkness and despair that this Jewish prisoner once felt in that concentration camp during World War 2 and yet still kept believing in the sun, love, and God through it all, I can say I’m experiencing my own form of it and that my faith is the only thing that’s kept me going and kept me believing, even when my mind told me long ago to stop.

Dear God, thank you for helping me to continue believing in You, even when it really feels as if you are on complete radio silence. I know it’s my faith in You that has helped me to keep going and to say without hesitation, that I believe the sun will shine again favorably upon me one day and love will pour forth once more profusely from my heart.

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

Thought For The Day

Quote #1

“Learn to see things backwards, inside out, and upside down.” (John Heder)

Quote #2

“Sometimes you have to let life turn you upside down, so you can learn how to live, right side up.” (Dave Johnson)

Quote #3

“Often when your world gets turned upside down…it’s in order to shake out people and things which were never fully right for you – and/or -to get you to view yourself and life from another perspective.” (Karen Salmansohn)

Bonus Quote

“When the world turns upside down, the best thing to do is turn right along with it.” (Mary Poppins)

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

Grateful Heart Monday

Welcome to another chapter of Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude remains my only focus in my writing, which for today is for, of all things, having OCD!

Having been diagnosed long ago with obsessive-compulsive disorder, there have been many times over the years ever since where I’ve recognized how it plays into my thinking and my life. Sometimes having it is not the greatest of thing, like when I spend far too much time worrying about my health and doing things like staring at blemishes in the mirror repeatedly. But then there are other times when having this condition becomes a blessing solely for the energy it brings me to complete major tasks I undertake.

Getting my over-the-top Christmas decorations done outdoors is a great example of that. Daily maintaining my meticulous garden and yard during the warm seasons is another. But the example I want to delve into a little deeper that brought me immense gratitude began with me hearing a weather forecast and learning that my local area was going to be getting high winds up to 60 mph for most of Sunday just over a week ago now. When winds like that strike for an entire day as the forecast was calling for, I knew there would probably end up being major cleanup from all the debris it left behind in its wake, especially due to the many huge mounds of leaves in the street all around my home, as well as those still strewn across many of my neighbor’s yards. So, in all my OCD glory of thinking, I checked which direction the winds were going to be moving during the incoming storm to identify which piles of leaves and which yards would most likely dump the heaviest debris onto my own property. Once I figured that out, I woke up early the morning before the storm and began bagging up one pile of leaves after another and mowing one yard after another, until I had bagged at least 15 of those mega Hefty-type lawn and leaf bags and mowed five of my neighbor’s front yards.

I know there’s a pretty good chance you might actually be laughing at me right now about this or quite possibly shaking your head in dismay over my decision to embark upon such a task in the first place. But let me tell you, not only did my yard sustain far less debris during said wind storm, but so did a number of my neighbors’ yards as well, the majority of which thanked me for helping them out. One even gave me a big portion of new garbage bags because I had used so many of my own, while another gave me $5 and said thank you for my service. I honestly didn’t expect nor sought either and was very appreciative of it. While the job took just over 8 hours of time, and pushed me to my very breaking point with my health limits, something I normally wouldn’t do to myself, I’m overly thankful with the results of my actions and for my partner for lending me a big helping hand to complete my OCD-based task.

While I can most definitely attest that having OCD can often be a huge hindrance to my life, there are many times as well just like this, where it’s truly helped me to do things I normally would give up on before really even undertaking. So, in the end I’m grateful to OCD having made my life and my neighbors’ life much easier post-storm, which is why I’ve dedicated today’s Grateful Heart Monday to having a condition that I’ve chosen to see isn’t always a burden and instead is sometimes a gift.

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