But How Can I Feel Grateful When…

Have you ever asked yourself this question?  How can I focus on the blessings in my life angel tearswhen the events in the world are so sad and the prospects for change seem so bleak?  You may have asked yourself this question upon hearing of the tragic news in Charleston, South Carolina last week when a young white man walked into the Emanuel AME church, was welcomed into the Bible study group, spent an hour with those folks and then proceeded to shoot them all dead.  Yet another racially motivated hate crime.  Yet another angry, mentally deranged young man allowed to have a gun.

Last week I asked myself that question.

I asked myself that question when I heard that a friend was just placed in hospice care after battling stage 4 colon cancer. She’s barely forty years old and has a young child. After raising and spending billions of dollars in cancer research, lives are still cut short by this scourge.

And then, I remember.  Tragedies like these break our hearts…and break them open.  We feel immense compassion and the love in our hearts literally goes out to those affected.  Devastating events like the one in Charleston unite us as a people.  Skin color doesn’t determine how much love we feel for the families.  Our own religious affiliation doesn’t dictate the level of our compassion.  Suddenly we are all one people.   And our nation is, once again, actively debating the issue of gun violence.

When someone close to us is in the process of dying, family and friends draw closer. Suddenly old squabbles, past resentments melt away.  Only the love survives.  What’s ultimately important in life…sharing our love and light…comes to the forefront.  It’s all that matters.

Love unites.  Love heals.  And love is what finds a solution to the world’s problems.

And for that I feel extremely grateful!

Gratitude Experiment: Day 36

Last night, just as I was about to climb into bed and place my very full glass of water on the bedside table, it spilled…the whole thing…all over all my books, papers, etc (lots of etcetera!)  I was so tired and knew I’d have to get up before dawn again to get my kids ready for school.  Immediately a God d….n it! issued forth from my mouth. Then, while cleaning it up, I realized there was a huge pile of magazines, papers, books and other stuff that I wasn’t ever going to get around to reading, and was essentially a very large pile o’ junk.  I suddenly realized what a blessing the spilt water was, as I had the opportunity to go through and recycle all that stuff, keeping there only what I am currently reading. 

I gave thanks for the spilt water.  I woke up feeling so light and uncluttered.

This is a small thing, I know.  But the idea of finding the blessing in, and expressing gratitude for, those experiences that feel, at the time like curses, is a spiritual practice.  A practice which fills us with love and joy, keeps us connected with Source, draws more good to us, and transforms our lives. 

I began thinking of other challenging experiences where I have found the blessing and am grateful for it.  Breast cancer for one.  I’m so grateful that during that experience I had the opportunity of recognizing and clearing out all the resentment and unforgiveness that was clogging my psyche and my body. At a relatively young age, I had the opportunity of letting that all go and choosing to perceive relationships and, life in general, from a higher perspective.  I don’t have to carry all that around with me into my old age…weighing me down.

I’m grateful that I was not able to have children when I wanted them, and had to work really hard to conceive.  I wasn’t ready for them. I wasn’t mature enough.  And the effort it took prepped me for the selflessness and sacrifice that parenting requires.

We can do this for our world as well.  Aren’t we all grateful that the would-be suicide airline bomber on Christmas Day was…not only foiled in his attempt…but also that it happened.  We are now increasing security and, more importantly, intelligence gathering and dissemination.  We are actually more secure as a nation because of it.

The list can go on and on…

And, I see from a lot of your comments that you too, are engaged in this practice of claiming a blessing from challenging experiences.   I’d be interested in hearing how that practice has brought forth a blessing for you specifically.  We’d all benefit from reading it.  So, I’m thanking you in advance!