We all know the things we are supposed to be thankful for. We celebrate them as often as we can- having food, shelter, family, love, good health etc. That’s the easy part.
True gratitude and insight, I believe, comes from being thankful for all the things that suck too. Without the dark there is no light, so to speak. After a three year stretch of navigating rough seas, I am trying to find light in the darkness, and understand how to be grateful for the things that haven’t been easy.
Today, I am thankful for suffering multiple losses in a short period of time. The grief was a testament to the fact that I am a well loved human. I had grief to wade through because I knew love. I knew companionship and support and joy through others, both human and animal. I loved sincerely. I am grateful that even though the loss is painful, it is there to remind me of love, and not everyone has that.
I am thankful for the lessons that the stress and uncertainty of this pandemic has offered. It showed me that we are capable of doing hard things together for the sake of others. I am grateful for the people who disappointed me during all of this, because it helped me reevaluate relationships that were draining me and helped me to better appreciate the ones that filled me up. It allowed me to learn how to say no. It gave me strength to stand up for the things that I think are important to stand for, and the tenacity to see them through.
I am thankful for pants that are too tight, or feeling guilty for not exercising enough because it means that I always have enough to eat. It means that my children don’t know what it is to be hungry. It means that my dogs eat better than some humans.
I am thankful for balances on credit cards and lines of credit and sometimes having to wait until next payday to make a purchase, because it means that I have appreciation for the things we have. It means that I understand the value of hard work and the value of privileges we enjoy. It means that I value the time of others, and don’t take them for granted. I am thankful for the lesson it teaches my children of having to work for what you have instead of expecting it to be handed to you.
I am thankful for illness and injury because it gives me empathy for others who are suffering.
I am thankful for mistakes because without them we would never learn anything new. I am thankful for doing it wrong a million times before getting it right because it teaches us perseverance and hope and determination.
Today, I want to be thankful for the things we usually wouldn’t want to acknowledge, because it’s been a rough few years, and I think the next few are likely to be challenging, and finding the calm among the storms fills me with hope.