I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to write here in the spirit of Thanksgiving. For me, in my attempts to be the best person I can be (often falling short), it’s important to have a genuine awareness of all the things that add to my life positively, and to acknowledge those things regularly, whether to myself or outwardly.
I went back and read what I posted this time last year: Thankful. This struck me:
“I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I know now that nobody ever gets to say ‘I’ve paid my dues.’ I have no doubt that life probably still has a few more curve balls in store for me, and I hope I can weather them. And although I’m certainly not wishing for more hard times, I respect the lessons and opportunities the hard times have afforded me. Without rain, you can’t appreciate the sunshine.”
I didn’t know it at the time, but just around the corner from that writing things began to spiral downward into one of the darkest periods of my life. From depression and PTSD following cancer treatment, to Michael’s emergency surgery and multiple hospitalizations earlier this year, to continued concerns about his health, to fallout with extended family, to the protracted battle with the school district over Finn’s educational placement, I can say with honesty that this past year has been, in some ways, far more difficult than the year Michael was battling cancer. At least then we had a plan. At least then there were Highly Trained Professionals dedicated to getting us to the other side. Now we’re just left with the aftermath, free-falling. And then top it all off by a surprise pregnancy.
So what is it I want to say about gratitude in the face of all this? (Because the truth is, it’s hard – really hard – to not feel sorry for myself sometimes.) Well, this is the rain I was talking about in that post last year. The clouds are still swirling overhead, but I trust that one way or another, the sun will shine again. It always does, eventually.
In the meantime, I am thankful for the friends I have in my life who bring out the best in me by seeing the best in me; who I not only trust with my deepest and darkest, but who honor me by trusting me in the same way; who listen and support without judgment.
I am thankful for the reflection and introspection these hard times have afforded me; for the insights I’ve gained about myself, my marriage, and my family; for the strength I’ve discovered in myself yet again to make it through the hard times. I know that in the end, I won’t be broken.