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Tarnish of the Soul: Bitterness

August 6, 2013

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Part Two in a series of four. 

Bitterness.

Discontentment’s best friend. Like a shadow, it creeps along behind. So subtle you never know it’s even there until you are drowning in it.

Bitterness.

The companion of sorrow and disappointment. Of loss and waiting.

Bitterness.

Blinding, deceptive and selfish.

What then, is the antidote for such poison?

Day in, day out, refocusing on the good. Even the little things.

I may not have everything I want, but I have everything I need.

Gratitude.

It unfetters the soul, unshields the eyes. What was hidden, revealed. Like sugar to lemon, it sweetens a bitter soul, revealing hidden richness and complexity.

I may not have everything I want, but I have everything I need.

After I graduated from college, I moved home and took a full time job with the company my dad worked for. I wasn’t feeling particularly ambitious, but I had college loans due and I needed something. I had interviewed at a few other places and when I was asked where I wanted to be in five years, I really had no answer. I didn’t know. I couldn’t imagine what five years in the future even looked like.

I did not expect to arrive home from college without a ring on my finger. The relationship I had nurtured for two years was not working out. I knew, despite the plans, and the talk of colors, and dresses, and flowers, it wasn’t right. I had spent more time imagining myself a bride than I did imagining myself a wife.

Bitterness.

I never wanted to be motherless. I’ve gone through anger, sorrow, even hatred over losing her so soon. Despite my rage, her death has shaped me, changed me, and given me insights I never would have had otherwise.

Very little in this life has turned out the way I planned. I’ve struggled with unmet expectations, and the bitterness that tags along.

How do we step away from the “I wants” and gather up the “I haves”?

Gratitude is slow food. It cannot be cultivated or nurtured on the run. We are blind to its grace when we keep ourselves busy. But slow down, look around…the grace is there. Abundant, glossy grace that illuminates a tarnished soul. The gifts, daily manna, ever-present if only we stop and look for them.

I may be motherless, but I have never been without the wisdom, counsel, support and encouragement my mother would have provided.

I didn’t marry right out of college. The right guy came along a year later, light years from the guy I imagined myself with, but a far, far, better man than I ever dreamed of.

That first job morphed into a marketing career that lasted 15 years. I thrived in the life that first job led me to, and somewhere along the way, a writer began to form amid the white papers, copywriting and ad campaigns.

I may not have everything I want, but I have everything I need. 

Stop for a moment today and look for the manna that is in your life. Then come back and tell us about it. 

Next week, the third tarnisher of souls: fear.

May grace and peace be yours in abundance,

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The conversation continues over on Facebook. Follow my author page for more insights and resources about living a shiny, abundant and beautiful life. 

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