My friend, Gina, has been keeping a gratitude journal of sorts on Facebook this year. When I occasionally open that site, I like to see the little moments in her life that make her happy and grateful. Living in gratitude makes all the difference in a whole-souled life.
When our family works in Mexico, we have the opportunity to serve breakfast to families who live in the old dump in Tijuana. The dump is a series of hills that forms a canyon, and that is the kind name for that neighborhood. Really though, it's just a dump built into houses. It amazes me each time I visit that this level of poverty is just minutes away from the wasteful wealth of Americans living a bountiful life in San Diego. I do like seeing the ingenuity of people who build homes from others' unwanted items. Even more, I love the gratitude and happiness of the people who live there. My first time serving breakfast in the canyon, I was flattered by some young boys who brought me a tiny flower as a thank you gift. They giggled shyly when I fawned over their gift and stuck the flower above my ear.
I've never visited any of the residents in their homes, but as I began reading the following account written by David Hessler, who runs the Breakfast Club there, I felt a burden of hopelessness. I would not know where to start each day knowing that it was just another day to try to survive. Yet these people manage to feed not just their families but also their spirits. David's words at the end of his post chase away the hopelessness I feel on behalf of these people, because they aren't feeling it for themselves. Instead, as he states, they choose to live with gratitude for the blessings God gives them and with a positive outlook for their lives. I can attest that I have seen their smiles and their warmth in the short interactions I've had with them. Because they don't feel sorry for themselves, I can be better at being grateful for the blessings I have too.
I hope you remember your own blessings as you read this description of Life in the Canyon, which was originally posted November 4, 2013 on the Life in the Canyon blog.