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Gratitude, Self-Respect, Self-Pity And Simple Kindness

"Gratitude preserves old friendships, and procures new." - anon

My friends, I hope this doesn't turn into a mushy, gooey, sentimental entry, because my intention is to make it about as much alien to that as possible.
A few short background items to put this story into some perspective. It involves other people, and I know I should have asked permission to quote them first, but you'll understand, I think, why I didn't. I hope and trust they do too. If not, I apologize.
I have tried to apply the "pay-it-forward" approach to life as much as possible when I can, if I'm able. That was just the way I was brought up, and one of the lessons I've tried to hang onto. I particularly enjoy doing things anonymously when I can. I figure that way, the recipient will think the whole world did it! Mostly small, trivial, seemingly insignificant things. Buying lunch for the hithhiker who hasn't eaten in two days, and then giving him a few bucks to get a little further down the road. That sort of thing. Not intending this to sound like bragging, but I've had a lot of opportunities over the years to help a little here, a little there when I could. And, yeah, in a perverse sort of selfish way, it makes me feel good. But, truth be told, it wasn't until tonight that I've come to understand fully and totally and far beyond words what it's all about.

It's being able to feel the emotion behind some words. What a mind trip that is, I tell you. Last summer, I saw an opportunity to help someone a little bit. I was able to at the time, and so I did. No big deal. Sure, I had a warm fuzzy tickle in my belly for a day or two, but then it was on to other things.

I'm bipolar, for those readers who may not know. I'm also gay, but unable to accept it as part of my life. I have Menieres Disease, which is causing me to slowly go deaf, and causes me to stumble sometimes when I walk, and fall down occasionally. I could go on, but I won't. That's the reference to "self-pity" in the title of this blog. Sadly, I find myself doing that a lot. Sometimes I feel like I got dealt the worst hand in the game, and it's time I folded. I alluded in my last entry that last fall I was very sincerely considering my options, including suicide (the rate amongst bipolars is about 5 times higher than the normal population ----- not that I'm using that as an excuse, you understand --- just letting you know!). It wasn't the first time in my life, and I can't imagine it being the last.
And so what was it that happened tonight to give me a sense of a feeling that I have never experienced before nearly to this depth? The person is an artist (extraordinaire, in my humble non-artistic view!), and had sent me a piece of their art as a "thank you". It is so beautiful, and it just blew me away. This is what it looks like (my cat's checking it out too!).
Sorry about the flash reflection, but click on it to see some of the amazing detail, but honestly, this picture does not do the original much justice at all.

.....and here's it's final "resting place", where I'll see it a thousand times a day.

And yes, the picture touched me in a thousand ways. I let the artist know I had received it (New Year's Eve incidentally), and sent a thank you e-mail.

Partly responding to my last blog, but also to my e-mail of thanks, here is an excerpt from the response I received this evening:

"Now should you ever feel so alone as to contemplate the bad things - just look at it and remember balance and peace. See it and know that you are loved as a person, that you made the biggest difference in my life, the life of my family, the life of my children. You set in motion a chain of events that led me to fight against this disease of bipolar that we share, and fight hard to get out into the world and take a chance on myself. My kids see me fighting, and it has made them want to fight too. All for the good of course. They don't have to be lectured on the value of an education because they can see it in motion. For me, that "painting" has so much emotion in it, so much of a lesson in it, the good comes, the bad comes, but in it all there is balance. I love you.Thank YOU for giving me the gift of living life. You did that - yes you!"

There's nothing left to say. I am simply overwhelmed. I cried tonight. It felt good.

I'm in a "stealing without asking" mood tonight, I guess. I have regularly been reading a blog called Nichevo (click on the site name to pay him a visit). The author of that site is openly gay, but doesn't push it in your face. He's an intelligent activist. Most entries usually consist of an editorial or opinion piece, or "do you know what's happening" kind of entry, followed by a series of pictures of eye'candy supreme. So caution. If the sight of men bothers you, don't scroll into the pictures! Sometimes they're just gorgeous faces, sometimes shirtless, sometimes nude, sometimes copulating. But it is done with taste and thought. This is the first time I have ever openly recommended a gay site. And I think, partially at least, that there is something up above that has given me the courage to do so. I just can't figger out what it might be!!

I got the following from one of his archived entries, and thought it belonged in this entry. Take the time to FEEL it. Trust me, my friends, it's an experience that is well worth it.

'nuff said.

P.S. I had already started a draft for this current blog entry, and a part of it was going to thank you for all the kindnesses you have shown towards me in the comments of support and encouragement you have left on my blog over the past two years ---- especially in those times when I enter a depression cycle, and can't fight it alone. I had decided to give up blogging, and was doing a "so long and thanks for all the fish" kind of a thing.

Tonight, I changed my mind.


Dear gentle soul, I am honored that you chose to "steal" something from Nichevo that you feel is of value to your readers. I had not yet discovered your blog until I was notified of your comment at mine. I loved your post and again honored to be a part of it in some small way. I thank you sincerely for the shout out. Thanks for stopping by, I will be by again to check your current and archived postings. Take heart in the fact there are those you do not know who love you for who you are without reservation or judgment. Peace out, blog buddy.

The artist of which you speak is a beautiful soul just as yourself.
I know how much of a difference you made in that persons life. Do you know how many peple wouldn't have bothered even though they could have helped?
You are an angel Rick.
I found that out a few summers ago when you gave us that bike for my son after his was stolen. The world would be a much better place if there were more people like you.
BTW....that pic you "stole" from Nichevo's......that just happens to be the artists most favorite flower.
High five to you!

Isn't that the purpose of life..Rick? to touch someone's life and to matter at least to one special person?
You are making a difference....we live our lives with the 'shit,shower, shave mentality' and most people do not look for opportunities to make a difference.
You are very hard on yourself.
And pics of men don't bother me...they enrich my life. I must go visit that site.
I'm very glad you're here.

This world is a better place for having you in it. I am glad you changed your mind about blogging, and being. I love you.

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  • I'm Evydense
  • From Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • And I'm tired of living in the shadow of narrow-mindedness and ignorance. So here's the fax, Jack! "The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and three hundred and sixty-two admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision." - Lynne Lavner*** I'm confused; curious; satisfied; realistically resigned to being a frustrated idealist; usually at peace with myself, but not always. Amazed at how little I know, and wondering how much I need to understand.
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