« Changing Lights | Main | Back On Track »

Western Oz Words: Gratitude Is The Chocolate Of The Soul

In this wonderfully uplifiting column, Margaret Dunn gives numerous reasons for being grateful for her life. Read it - and feel good about yourself and your day.

Gratitude is often a spontaneous emotion – a rush of thanks from the heart. We give thanks for help in time of need – but it’s also something we hold within ourselves. It comforts us, like a small confection, to feel that another has brought us a gift, solace in time of trouble, or just a listening ear and understanding smile.

Each morning, at breakfast, I gaze out through the glass door leading to my garden and feel deeply grateful for my life. It might have been different.

In an earlier time, I had a husband and children, living in our family home in Scotland. But one day the husband departed, never to return. In the words of a popular folk song of that day “I wept, I cried, I damn near died…” though even at that trying time, a small shaft of gratitude lit my dark days. I wouldn’t need to iron shirts any more! I wouldn’t need to feel reluctant to speak my mind for fear of inducing a bad mood.

Everything passes – good times and bad. Common sense and good fortune prevailed. As the door closed behind the man, another door opened which led me and my children to a different life - in Central Africa.

My feeling of insecurity changed to a sense of freedom.

In those past years of domesticity, my sense of myself had slipped away. I had been the wife – the mother, but other aspects of me were lying dormant. In this new life, the rest of me came into play. My new role was that of secretary in a firm of African lawyers. Only four years into Independence, Zambia was in a state of change, especially the legal system.

A busy job in a new culture: no time to brood. I had the challenge of working with, and admiring, women of a different culture. The local Zambian girls in the office were hard working secretaries and, after some initial reserve on both sides, we had some lively times.

Weekend outings brought me close to the Bush - monkeys, elephants and giraffe. On longer trips I marvelled at the majesty and might of the Victoria Falls. My eyes and mind were constantly stretched to observe so many new and exciting events – and I was grateful.

Being the new unattached girl in town going to the local parties, I made many friends and never wanted for male company. Lucky me. Those years in Africa were healing and sustaining with so many lessons learnt. All thanks to the man who had departed. Sometimes the gift is not given lovingly – it might be thrust upon us, like a poisoned chalice. Then we must choose whether to drink it and give up, or turn away on a difficult path.

After a few years, it was time to move back through that particular door and return to my home ground – older and wiser, and grateful for this fruitful time of recovery.

My children came through troubled times, but we weathered the storms. We followed our own paths but always stayed together. Then life herded us along to converge at yet another doorway into another new life - in Western Australia: and who would not be grateful to live in this vast land.

I draw my attention from the flowers and trees of the garden and clear the table. There is work to be done, but first I take a little comfort to help me on my way. With gratitude, I select my first piece of chocolate for the day.


Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.