Joining the Cult of Gratitude

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You’ve heard it before – the people who lovingly speak of the bad stuff that happens to them and dreamily recount how it’s blessed them and they’re – gaspthankful for their trials. Oh puh-lease! I’ve always operated under the assumption that those words were spoken from folks who were just looking for a way to make themselves feel better about their crappy luck.


Consider me converted to the cult of gratitude for challenges and hard years and I’m sorry for the looks of crazy I’ve shot at you enchanted and beholden humans. As I was thinking recently in the early morning as I tend to do because it’s quiet and I can actually hear my brain for once, I realized that I was actually thankful for the year we’ve had. It’s been a doozy.

On a recent Mommy-Daddy date night we got on the subject of our trials and tough year and marveled at how we never considered in 14 years of marriage that we’d had very little opposition in our lives. We’ve had a good and relatively easy run of it so far. That is before the odious year of 2013.

The fun kicked off with my husband’s completely unexpected layoff from his cushy job of 12 years and marched indignantly on with two miscarriages (one at 18 weeks along). Only slightly disenchanting was the career 180 and discovering the joy of becoming a fuel truck driver’s wife. Sprinkle in something breaking on the house or car every five minutes, beloved pets croaking, wavering faith and mattresses flying out of trucks and you have a recipe for some serious life upheaval.

It could be that we’re just naïve and still don’t know how good we’ve got it (because let’s face it, as long as we’re all pretty healthy, it’s all good, right?) or we were so seriously behind schedule on those life-refining and character building experiences that the Lord scratched his head and said, “How did I let these two slip through the cracks?”.

Whatever the case, I found myself in my morning reverie thinking I might possibly perhaps feel a little glad for my trials. I’m not sure I would even go back and change anything. WHAT? I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and feeling the benefits of our year-long whipping. I’m feeling the glow of my faith increasing and patience expanding. I recognize the spiritual refinement I’ve gained and feel gratitude for the blessings that are rearing their glorious heads.

For once, I’m able to sort of have 20/20 vision in the present instead of hindsight years after the fact. I feel like I see why I had to endure a particular hardship and know that it will help me and maybe others in the future. If I can do nothing but comfort someone going through something similar someday, it’ll probably be worth it.

I know our brains are powerful things and whether I’m really being blessed and improved through my challenges or just placating myself into submission to get over my “crappy luck”, it doesn’t matter. I feel better and I’m happier because of it.

Now that I might be one step closer to the magical unicorn that is self-actualization, I would like to send up a little request for the next year to be a little less…opposing. I feel pretty refined right now.

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