There were times in my life when I didn’t know to be thankful. I couldn’t see past the things I didn’t like or enjoy or that hurt me, to see the things that I could and should appreciate.
For whatever reasons in life I had at any given time, I know there have been times when I have not thanked or been thankful. Can we be retro thankful? If so, I am.
With all of the posts and reminders of being thankful it occurred to me that I wasn’t always.
There are things I am not grateful for having happened. But that I am grateful for having learned from. And I am grateful for the ability to see these things in the rear view mirror and know that how I handled them is part of how I live today and who I work on being.
There is no gratitude in being abused. No gratitude in feeling less, less than anyone else. But there is huge gratitude in the forces in my life that put books in to my hands. Words in to my ears. Thoughts in to my consciousness. So that I could learn how to think for myself. So that I could learn that I am who I am based on my own decisions. So that my thoughts would be my guiding forces, not someone else’s actions.
There is no gratitude in looking in the mirror and seeing a physical shell that did not represent who I felt I was. But there is gratitude that when I went through that time of my life-those who loved me-loved me. Regardless of how I appeared. Regardless of what size I was. Regardless of what I thought of myself. I was loved. And until the day came that my thinking changed and I took action, I was valued. And when I took action, it didn’t change how others loved me. It changed how I loved me.
There is no gratitude in looking at your children and telling them you have failed their family, and you seek divorce. There is no gratitude in feeling like a failure. But there is gratitude in the patience of friends who heard you out. There is gratitude in the strength of love to live through your child’s angst and anger. There is gratitude in the lessons learned from others and on my own to take ownership of hurting others. And there is gratitude in forgiving hurt inflicted by others. And there is gratitude in knowing when you have no control over some things, and having to let it go. Even if it takes a very, very long time.
There is no gratitude in dark and scary days. Days when you don’t have answers, or money, or someone to share sorrows and joys with. There is gratitude for having coping mechanisms that give comfort and peace. There is comfort in having thousands of my words printed in childish, adolescent and young adult script. Words that trapped emotions on the paper, and often times left them there, leaving me feeling lighter-safer-quiet inside.
For all of the things I may not have had reason to be grateful for, I have an abundance of gratitude for the ability to live. Not just live through those things. But live. I am grateful for always knowing somewhere ahead of me was something different. Something I had to reach. Something I had to get to. Something beyond where I was.
It is a gift, the ability to be thankful. In the most difficult of times, having the courage or the determination to find something to be thankful for can be life altering. Life saving. Life, better.