Typically, gratitude brings me back. These past months I have not taken time to focus on my gratitude. I have not shared my thanks with others. I have not even shared them with myself. I have let the wrong thoughts guide my heart. Today, as I reflect, I am humbly reminded that grateful hearts don’t just happen. They are created with purposeful focus, grit, acceptance, and determination.
Last week my sweet uncle joined friends and family in heaven. Another person I love will be joining him soon. Being an ocean away in the middle of a pandemic is challenging; however, being an ocean away in the middle of a pandemic is also a fortunate place to be. Of course, I wish I could be with my family; however, that is not something I will be able to do at this time. I am fortunate to live in a place where COVID-19 numbers are low. I am grateful to live in a climate that encourages me to be active outside and has community members who take precautions, and this virus seriously.
When you accept the cards you are dealt, you are more able to see the positive. My legs hurt changes to I am grateful for these legs to walk on. My presentation messed up turns into I learned a new way to present. I am stuck at home turns into I am grateful for a home. Missing those we lost turns into gratitude for the opportunity to love someone well. My teenager driving me crazy turns into I am grateful for a young person to help mold. This pain can break you, or it can help you understand others. It can mold you into something more.
When you focus on all you have, you will not dismiss the hard and sad parts of life. I know some diagnoses are not good. I know there are people that you love who leave you far too soon. I know that hard, horrible times exist. I know that some of you have made mistakes so big that you cannot look at yourselves in the mirror. Those errors are helping you to become your best self.
I know many have felt trauma and sadness so big that they do not want to go on. You need to cry and scream, and life feels upside down. Daytime is dark and the evening even darker. I am sorry for your pain. Those feelings and sadness should be felt. After you feel them, be thankful for them. All that you feel and do make you who you are: the good and the bad. Embrace them and let them work their magic. By doing this, you are allowing gratefulness to move you forward. You are turning your pain to purpose. You are providing an opportunity to experience a paradigm shift in perspective. Gratitude is NOT what has been taken away. Simply put, it is acceptance of what you have been given.
This year has been hard. The irony in the 2020 year is that it has helped us see more clearly. There is a purpose in this, just as there is a rainbow after a storm. We may not see the colors after each rain, but we are reminded of the beauty that the showers can bring when we do