Finding Gratitude in Unlikely Places

Ah – the holidays are upon us; and on the heels of a nerve-wrecking and completely divisive election non-the-less… should make for interesting fodder over the next several weeks as we come together to celebrate our respective faiths and each other. Oh, the stories we will tell…

I believe in the importance of practicing gratitude -  for the minors, for the majors. I am thankful for the people I choose to share my life with, and for the people who were chosen for me. The people who choose to love me and those I choose to love – despite ourselves.  A roof over my head and a little money in the bank, a body that wakes each morning and takes me through the day – these things are all reasons to be thankful, and trust me, I am. These are the obvious choices, the softballs if you will.

I also like to practice gratitude for things in unlikely places. The situations and circumstances that require me to show up, dig deep, and bring my best self to the table. For nothing less will do. I am so grateful, (even more grateful?) for these things because they help me step into the fullness of who I was created to be. Here’s a short list:

Messy Relationships – There is a simple authenticity in relationships that are a bit undone. I love messy relationships simply because they are REAL. If you care enough to get into the mess with someone, you care enough.

The Pain of Love – Love is an energy source. It doesn’t die– it might change forms; but never ceases to exist. If there is someone in your life who you are lucky enough to love, and that someone is able to fully love you in return, that is a great gift.

If you are separated from that person physically or emotionally –does love cease? No, of course not. But  the love you have that is unreceived or unrealized can sometimes become painful.  If your heart is open enough to love fully, you will also experience great pain. Pain in love reminds me that I am fully alive. Living with a heart wide open is indeed one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself for you will surely experience all that life must offer.

Most of us cannot see beyond our own pain and so it is easier to shut down and forget about the love that goes unactualized in our hearts. But I challenge you to consider that shutting down your heart to pain will take with it the ability to fully know joy, love, peace and all the ‘good’ emotions as well. Better to know pain and still experience full joy.
Harder for sure – but better.

I am grateful for both the love that is actualized in my life, and the love that is not.

Discontent - I am grateful for the discontent in my life, for without it I wouldn’t be actively seeking, growing, and learning. Complacency is the harsh enemy of growth. Discontent has been the catalyst of every great change I have ever made, and I am grateful.

Your feelings are not your truth, but simply a map to your heart.

This Thanksgiving, I am grateful, so grateful, for the goodness in my life, especially that which comes from the most unlikely places.

Here’s to making it great.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!