As we pulled out the driveway and started up the street, I saw that my neighbor two houses down had a yard completely full of stuff.? His stuff.? Apparently the mortgage company had moved everything his family had on to his front yard and changed the locks.
I live in a nice neighborhood.? Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen a view of all of a neighbor’s possessions on the front yard.? Times are hard for a lot of people.
But today it struck me really differently than it has in the past.? I’ve been doing a lot of work on the practice of gratitude, and on changing the way I judge people.
Judging others as not as good as me in some way has been a lifelong habit (I’m embarrassed to admit).? It’s not an easy one to break.
But I feel like I made a real breakthrough today.? My initial reaction when I observed my neighbor’s plight was to feel really blessed to have what I have.
I spend a lot of time giving gratitude for the people in my life.? For all things “non-physical.”? But giving gratitude for my “stuff” feels like it places too much emphasis on material wealth.? Today, I gave gratitude for my stuff.? Lots of gratitude.
In previous days, I would have thought something like -? “how much of a pathetic loser can you be to go from a big house in a nice neighborhood to THAT?”? Today,? I felt true compassion for my neighbor.? I don’t know him or his family.? But combined with my gratitude were great feelings of sadness and empathy for him.? “But for the grace of God . . .” type feelings.? I wanted there to be something I could do to help.
While I am happy that these are my genuine reactions, I’ve got to admit, it’s hard.? What happened just two doors down has bothered me all day.? Just after 9:30 tonight the last caravan of cars and trucks full of stuff pulled away from his house.? It took over 12 hours to clean off his front yard.
And all the while I was spending a terrific day with my kids, topped off with ice cream to end our trip and a good workout at the gym for my peace of mind.? Truly I am blessed.? And, no matter what he’s done to “deserve it,” truly I hurt for my neighbor.
It was easier when I could just brush it off as something that would never happen to me.? When I could dismiss someone in that situation as an idiot, or something equally as derogatory.
I’ve always taught people that giving gratitude is “easy.”? Today, I’m not so sure.? Sometimes part of realizing how great your life is brings into sharp focus how tough someone else has it.? That can be really uncomfortable.
As is often the case, the easy path is not the right path.? Sometimes giving gratitude is hard.? But it is always right.? And the few who follow it will always live better.
JENNIFER HERNDON is a work at? home mom with three fabulous kids.? She has been enjoying the time freedom and financial benefits of working at home for over 12 years.? Jennifer?s passion is empowering others to personal and business success through a positive mindset and consistent action.
Want to learn more about the joys of giving gratitude?? Claim your free copy of Jennifer?s mini-course, Seven Simple Success Steps, and start your life on the right path today.