"One Room Joy" © Rolly A. Chabot
Welcome as always to the Fireside and may this find you well and overflowing with the blessing of knowing you are filled with love by those around you.
I made a fast trip to Montana yesterday and found two different worlds in comparison to what I find here at home. We have a few feet of snow and yet Montana is basically barren with native grasses blowing in the breeze. So to all of my American friends I became one of you for a little while. Thank you for your hospitality and as always your smiles.
Gather around and lets go back a few years in time and reflect where we have come from in these past few years. A personal story I want to share with you. I was a time of getting back to the very basics of life where all I had was some very kind people around me. A time of coming to appreciate the smallest of things and value what I had rather than caring for what I had. Make yourself at home here, stay as long as you like and please know that you are dearly loved.
Life is a Struggle
We have all had a friend, a relative or someone we know, in all likelihood maybe it has happened to us. A place we do not relish to remember, and yet is a part of life. It is a place where we feel trapped, leaving us with little hope and with much despair.
I found myself in a terrible place several years ago, one which I can take the better part of the blame for as it was from my own self doing. Yes, there was another involved, that could be a book in itself I suppose. What I lost in possessions was nothing compared to what has been lost through greed and deception. Sadly even the life they once had is gone as they passed away a few years ago. I learned to forgive and move on, but it is very sad to think that a once productive and promising life is gone.
Basically, I was left with nothing but a few things of value to me. Living on a very limited income was a challenge. Where I found myself, was forced into a small apartment in a converted motel. It was well known in the city where I lived as the last of the last places one wanted to be, but I found myself there with very little and a total of a 150 foot square space filled with nothing but my pride. From a 1700 square foot home with all the best of the best, from there to a few simple personal items. It was a lonely place to be.
I had work at least, not the greatest of jobs, but it paid the rent and bought a few meagre groceries. There were many days when I had nothing more than oatmeal or rice in the cupboards, but I did get by. The factory I worked at moved me quickly up the ladder and I ended up in research and design of the products we manufactured. Over time, I was slowly able to begin life over again.
Many times over the years I have thought of and been very thankful to those who reached out and provided to help me furnish my little space. They gave from their hearts, furniture, dishes, cutlery and most of all they gave of their love. Love is far more valuable than anything else.
In writing this, I would never expect to have pity for where I found myself. It was all my own making, and I own it and claim it as mine. To begin with all I wanted to do was hide from people, hoping none would see where I was living. I was directed by my own pride and all the attributes of the evil wolf I found deep within myself. Even the box of bread and baking which the Food Bank left in the hallway was bypassed because of my the inner wolf I was feeding.
There were several lessons I learned in the two years I lived in that small apartment. The first of which was dealing with pride. It was not easy, a daily struggle and yet once I learned through a great deal of soul searching, pride soon fell aside and was replaced with thankfulness for those who reached out in love and compassion. Before long, I reached out into the small community of others in this complex to with a kind word of encouragement. A small hand up or even a cup of coffee, and a shoulder for them to lean on once in a while.
The next thing I learned was humility. Now that is a hard one to learn. I mean to have to accept help from others was a struggle for me as it certainly was not in my nature. A good friend pulled me aside one day and spoke great words of wisdom into my life. You see after losing my pride I became more generous with giving of my time and what little resources I had. His words were simple after I refused to accept a food hamper from the local food bank that he had arranged. "What kind of a heart are you giving with, if you are not willing to receive." Those were powerful words and taught me that having humility made my giving even more meaningful.
Most people think of giving in the financial sense and yes it is very applicable. The few coins in your pocket can and will brighten a day of someone who is down and out. Just to sit and listen is another way we can contribute. In doing so we can learn and consider just how fortunate and blessed we truly are. When we take the time to walk in unfamiliar shoes into a new area of life we have never been it is here we truly appreciate what we have, and most likely find we are more likely to give from our heart when called upon to do so.
Now I sit back and think of those days and smile in thankfulness for the opportunity the simple one room home had to offer. The many people, the gifts and the chance to be able to call it a part of life. I certainly do feel it was a part I needed to experience, a part of the road I had to travel to become the person of today.
In hindsight, I cannot help but think of the man at the factory who offered me the opportunity to buy a used computer on credit. That same computer opened the door to many hours of writing. A place I was able to put life into a better perspective, a prospective where I was able to share from the heart to a world unseen. My journals were for my own growth, a place to vent the anger, frustration and bitterness I had within. It was from the bitter place I found myself in I was able to find forgiveness. That same computer opened the door to a brand new freedom, which would later be shared with a publication and a column for others to read.
Now the platform is far different, the many friendships which have been formed, are far more meaningful and treasured. No matter where you find yourself in life, share your hurts with yourself, with others and be ever so thankful for what you have. The greatest gift you can receive is the gift of love. The most valuable gift you can give is the love of the good wolf you find deep within if you are willing to search it out and let it feed your spirit.
Please my fellow writers, take this to heart when I say that I love you all dearly. I have no idea where you stand in your faith or what your belief system is, and I respect all people no matter where they are in this regard. For me, I know God placed those caring people into my life at the time, people who gave freely expecting nothing in return. Even today I stand in awe over the many blessings and selfless giving of others.
Where ever you are, please understand you are not alone... know that people stand with you, above all know that you are dearly loved by this writer...