So, Yes – It Was That Loaf Of Bread That Taught Me The Value Of Gratitude!
I stood outside the bakery for a while. I just wanted to catch my breath and take some time out for myself. My eyes were brimming with tears of frustration, fatigue and helplessness.
I was overwhelmed by the myriad emotions that flooded my heart all at once. And I just wanted to run away from it all. I wanted to give up on all the bloody relationships that I had nurtured with so much of my time and energy. I felt as if love had never been a part of my life!
Why did no one value what I had done for them for so many years?
They were takers – all of them. Every single family member just wanted a different aspect of me. Some wanted my moral support, some just my physical labour and my spouse? What did he want? A wife who just fulfilled his and his family’s desires and catered to his and his family’s demands!
I could feel myself collapsing. I wanted out. I just wanted to walk away from it all.
“Let them fend for themselves!” I said to myself. “Maybe then they will realize my worth.”
My son and my spouse had passed through that very location. I had asked them to buy a loaf of bread for the evening meal. They had very conveniently forgotten to do so and had refused to go back again to buy a mere loaf of bread! I had to take care of the evening meal so I was left with no other option. I just had to leave all my work and go there to buy that damn loaf of bread!
The tears were streaming down my face now. I hurriedly brushed them away from my face lest other people see them.
The sun was searing through my skin. My throat was parched. I looked at my two-wheeler. I stroked it lovingly. I wondered if I could really zoom off on it and out of their lives.
The petrol tank was full…… as usual …….
I calmed down after a few minutes. My spouse had suffered from a heart attack four weeks ago. He had been travelling at that time. The blessings of that higher power alone had saved his life.
I knew all of this. That man, my spouse, whom I loved with my whole heart, had broken down on seeing me in the hospital within 12 hours. I had brushed aside his tears tenderly and said, “Did you really think I would leave you? What would I do without you?” He shook his head vigorously. He knew I had just been engaging in another verbal duel with him.
The whole thing had happened so suddenly, that we were all caught unawares. Other close family members had rushed over immediately too. My son had finished his semester exams and had come over for a much-needed break when this happened. We were all back home now but my spouse was still in no condition to help me around at home.
I felt so lost because I was unable to connect with him mentally and emotionally now. He had gone out with our son to buy the things he needed before his college reopened in a couple of days.
As usual, he had ensured that our two-wheeler’s petrol tank was full!
My spouse had been exhausted by that short trip and my son had not wanted him to exert himself. I understood this. But I wanted them to understand what I was going through too. The entire experience was taking a huge physical, mental and emotional toll on my nerves and I was finding it difficult to deal with the accusations that were being hurled at me.
But there, standing outside the bakery, under the searing hot sun I realized I had a lot to be grateful for too. I walked brusquely into the bakery, bought the softest loaf of bread and went back to my house……my home……
I had a wonderful housekeeper who did all the chores around the house quietly. I had a supportive and understanding son who had comforted me when I had broken down several times during that entire phase. I had a spouse who had taken care of all of us all through these years and now wanted to be taken care of till he recovered completely. I knew he was an understanding man who was yearning to get back to his normal routine and be his usual cheeky self!
Gratitude helped me recognize my own feelings and helped me make that transition from bitterness to understanding.
I realized that I needed a break too. A couple of days later, my son returned to college and our other family members returned to their hometown as well.
The first thing we naturally did was:
Vent Out Our Feelings: We allowed them to flow out of our hearts unabated. Our fears, the nerve-wracking anxiety, the anger of dealing with unfairness and criticism, the confusion of listening to conflicting pieces of advice from all and sundry…. it all came tumbling out.
Sift Through Our Thoughts And Feelings: We appreciated the timely support that we got from so many people. But the barbed comments and the unfair accusations hurt like hell too. We discussed everything in detail now. He told me about his experience as a patient and I told him about how I had to deal with financial/emotional/mental and physical demands.
We realized that our sense of gratitude far outweighed the pain that seared through our hearts.
Yes. The pain lingered. For a long time. But criticism had served a purpose too. It had helped us discover our values. We realized that it was up to us to pick and choose our learning from the experiences of our lives.
Have Faith In A Higher Force: We realized that so many things in life were never really in our control. A series of miracles had saved his life that day. All we knew was that a higher force had taken care of us during that entire phase.
We lead hectic lives. A quick “Hello” was all we could manage on any regular day. We worked with passion and helped others to the best of our ability. Period. That was our only connection with that higher force. Yet that higher force had not failed us.
We were filled with gratitude and were now able to
Identify the road to happiness: We now knew that every time we were plagued with a bout of negative energy, we had to consciously make a choice. If we wanted peace and happiness in our lives, all we had to do was to dip into the vast reserves of positive energy that radiated from a concept like gratitude.