My mother and I lived in a little trailer several miles from the city. We had lived several places within the city before moving to the trailer park. It was a place that was desolate to me. I was about fifteen years old, and depression was becoming a pretty familiar friend at that time. I would spend a lot of my time in my bedroom. It was at the front of the trailer facing the street. We lived very close to the dead-end of our road, which only added to the seclusion.
I truly hated that time. It was disheartening to be a young man who felt like the world hated him. I was a quiet guy at school, and a pretty strange one around those whom I was acquainted with. I tried to fit in with the crowds, but it always seemed as if I was so much different from them. I suppose being an only child conditioned much of that? I had a small group of friends that I would run with when I was at my grandparents house in the city. I would spend a lot of my time with them. It was nice to be able to get away from the nightmarish trailer park in the middle of nowhere. My group of friends were all addicted to drugs, and we were all failing in school. We had such good times just drinking and drugging. We didn’t think about tomorrow, and we took everything for granted.
Taking things for granted was something that stuck with me for many years. My mother remarried and we moved into nicer places. I became pretty spoiled throughout the next several years. It was not like I had the nicest things, but coming from where I had lived throughout my life, it was like rags to riches to me. I received free cars, free room and board, and freedom to perform my sinful lifestyle in the confines of my bedroom. I became a very ungrateful teen.
I would use my mother and stepdad. I never thought about their feelings, and I usually only cared about myself. Throughout my latter teen years, I was only worried about finding drugs, working some crummy job to get a few dollars for the necessities (pot, cigarettes, gas, possibly some meth and fast food), and getting with a girl or two. Seriously, I was very selfish, and perpetually vain.
I wish that I could say that it all changed rapidly after leaving the nest, but I can’t. I suppose it took many lessons, failures, losses and grief to bring me to the days of being extremely grateful?
I began to see things much differently after my grandparents died around 2000. Beginning to. I was working full-time and purchased a home with my ex soon after. I had many bad habits which I had carried over from the teen years, and I would simply hide them from my employers and acquaintances. Only my small circle knew the real me. I began to see just how selfish I had been throughout the early years, and felt as if I had to provide for everyone to make up for lost time. Although, my parents were not the one’s who I would cater to. It was my girlfriend, and the freeloading family of hers. I was working to support her and her non-contributing family who hung at our house everyday. Buying their drugs, and providing their room and board.
I became bitter.
After my best friend died, who just happened to be the brother of the girl I was shacking up with, I realized that my so-called “love” for her was not really that at all. It was more like a good support system for our shared drug habits, unresolved mental issues and sex. I left pretty much everything I had accumulated with them all. I even left them the house. I took my car, truck, stereo, clothes, a chair and television, a VCR and a few little what-nots, and left. I was finished with being used.
I guess that is when I really began to see how much using people can hurt.
I could go on and on about the process which brought to my place of gratitude, but somewhere within the long-winded narrative I would mention the time in which the Lord began to work within me. He began to show me His grace. My undeserved pardon. It was the beginning, and an end to that old lifestyle that was causing me to be so very ungrateful. I began to see just how grateful I should be!
All of those years of only following the emotions; the life without His Holy Spirit speaking His words into my life. No peace and little self-control, little remorse and few regrets. The time in which the dead-end street of the little park was much like the dead ends of my choices. Those times of being selfish and not appreciating that little shelter my mother had worked for, while I laid in the front room high on pot, nestled in my self-loathing. Confined within the self-pity. The only way I knew to be.
Man, I am grateful! I am thankful for this life I have survived! I am thankful for my family and friends! I am thankful for the lessons I have learned throughout the times of being selfish and ungrateful. I am thankful for receiving forgiveness from some of those people of the past, and especially thankful for the forgiveness through Christ Jesus!! I am thankful for the home we have. I am thankful for my job. I am thankful for the food we receive each day. I am thankful for the beauty of this earth and the daily freedom to observe it. I am thoroughly thankful for this life.
I am thankful for His Word. It / He is the basis for the newness within. It is His Word which educates the carnal mind to align with the inner-most being that has taken residence within! His Holy Spirit has taken His place in the man who once ran from place to place, with very little gratitude.