Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I Didn't Think I Would Be Grateful

Pretty much my whole life, I remember reading stories about people enduring and overcoming trials. I always thought, "how could they possibly be grateful for all they had to go through?" I didn't believe it, I thought perhaps they were lying or something. How could someone lose a child, and then later say they were grateful? How could someone lose a job, their house, etc, and be grateful? How could a person suffer from a mental or physical infirmity, struggle to live through each day, and somehow find that they were grateful?  I didn't understand it then.

Two years ago, no more than that, closer to two and a half or so, my family entered a really difficult time. I have struggled to understand. I have cried and yelled and fought back. When that failed, I wanted to give up. What was the point? If it didn't matter what we did, bad stuff was going to happen, then why try to do the right things? After awhile, a LONG while, with multiple trials and curves being thrown at us, somewhere in the midst of the hysteria, in the middle of the panic, I found peace. I found my precious unborn baby. I found that I loved this baby with all my heart, just as I love my kids and husband. I found that I could keep trying, because this baby and my family needed me. And I found that I WAS grateful, for everything.

I was grateful for a horrible boss. That horrible man, who treated my husband like dirt, who insulted him, micromanaged him, maligned him, kicked him when he was down, falsely accused him, led him to believe that he knew nothing and that his degrees were worthless (although superior to the boss's education), and finally arranged to have him fired. I could be grateful in spite of all that, because it motivated my husband to find other work. And the new job came with a boss who was kind, caring, a true leader, respectful and encouraging. I am grateful for a horrible boss, because he taught me how to be a better wife. He taught me how not to treat the good, humble, sincere man I married. He taught me that words alone can destroy a person. I am grateful for these necessary lessons, lessons which I needed to learn. I am grateful.

I am grateful for the long commute my husband has each day. Although it means we needed to purchase a second car, with it's accompanying insurance and fuel costs, it allowed my husband time to unwind from work. Also, through a car pool with two good men at two different times, my husband was given some really good friends, men with whom he can connect and discuss topics of religion, politics and philosophy, etc. This has been so good for him. Even though the commute, and the time difference between his employment and our home means he is gone from 8 am to after 7 pm, I am grateful, because my husband gets that necessary time to connect with people outside of work, something he rarely had before. I am grateful.

I am grateful for the unexpected blessing of this unborn baby. I wasn't ready, we weren't ready to welcome any additions at this time. And at first I was angry and anxious. But I am now grateful, grateful for the way that this tiny angel has already touched my life, for the way this baby has touched my family. I am thankful for the lessons I have learned, already, from being this baby's mother. I have learned to accept things in God's time. I have learned to trust that it's going to be okay. I have learned a little about how to live in the moment. Our lives, life in general, is really just a blink, we never know when our last day, or a loved one's last day may be. We need to treasure each moment as it comes, to look for the good in every second, because it might just be our last chance to be with someone. I am still learning this last lesson, but I am grateful for it as it is being taught. I have learned to hold my children close every day, to make sure that they know that I love them. I am grateful.

It hasn't been an easy two and a half years. Some parts have been extremely difficult, and all of it has been long and hard, but looking bad, maybe it all wasn't so bad. I still have hard days, and there are more hard days coming in the future. Some days I still struggle. But I know that I will be grateful for these days too. If only because they are days that I and my children and husband lived, there will be reasons to be grateful. And I am grateful.

I am grateful for hard times, financially. I am grateful, because I have learned to not be so judgmental. I have learned that things aren't always what they seem on the outside, and that only God knows the whole story. I am grateful to have struggled in this economy, because it has taught me to think more charitably of others. It has taught me to reach out and try to help more people. Because I know that I am struggling, that we are struggling, I have learned that others must be struggling too. Our own financial troubles have helped me to widen my vision, and truly see other people, and not be so absorbed in my own problems. I have been able to open my eyes, and see that trials are all around, people are suffering everywhere, some of them much more than I. I am grateful for the lesson on charity. I am grateful to have learned to give selflessly, to give without judgment, and to serve without pretense nor grumbling. I am grateful.

God is in control. I cling to that hope and knowledge, that somehow all of my trials and hardships will be for my good. And even if the only good is that I learn a valuable lesson, well then I guess that's good enough. There are people out there who have it harder than I do. And I am grateful that I have not been called to endure their trials instead of my own. I am grateful to have my own trials, given in their own time, and in the time I need them. I am grateful.

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