I think this is one of those needed posts that I am unfortunately qualified to write. When we think of being thankful or grateful, we think of good moments or blessings that we have, if people take the time to actually THANK someone (God or otherwise) for any specific things, instead of just saying the cliche "Happy Thanksgiving." However, my experience in life has led me to quite a different understanding of what things we need to be grateful for receiving. Often, it's shut doors, heartbreak, poverty, and more. I will explain.
Many years ago, I watched a program on a Catholic tv show, and they had a phrase they used to open the show. I forget the exact wording, but it noted that a candle burns brighter in the darkness. I liked that, and it applies to my point, here. I have been blessed with a gift from my young days. Call it being a prophet or divination, but I have always been able to figure out my path by considering different options and feeling in my spirit for a check on the right one. It's kinda an inefficient means of determining a path, because you have to consider them one path at a time and be listening during all of them... much like trying to determine who to date. You wait till you feel that click and know it's the path to take. It has been almost 100 percent accurate, and the times I would end up on the wrong path would be because I didn't wait for the right path or didn't check to see if I should take it. But, even during those times, I have much for which to be grateful.
Thomas Edison is famous for saying that he didn't fail to make a lightbulb 2,000 times. He succeeded in finding 2,000 ways you DON'T make a lightbulb. Can you imagine? You keep trying and trying and nothing works? Again.. it's much like my dating, and that causes me sessions of doubt, like the one I am facing on this Thanksgiving. Never in my life did I imagine that I would be as old as I am, having sacrificed houses for romance and giving up my personal career money and praise so that I could take care of those that needed me.... only to be rejected by them and find myself eating Turkey hotdogs and etc on my own for Thanksgiving... my daughter being with my ex for this and will be with her for Christmas holiday. So, if I gauge giving thanks by things that go well... well... at least I am not being threatened by kids at school or having them mock my body as a teacher. But, I did lose social links when I left that stressed environment.
But, I AM grateful, as I reflected on it, today. I know who NOT to have in a romance. I am not giving myself to those that could care less if I am in their life. I am not putting my health at risk in the wrong work environment. And, I have found that it is often when you are lowest or not happy (been a little on edge from my life situation) that you learn who cares for you. You cannot know that without lack or depression or darkness. Indeed, darkness is often very much more revealing than the lights of celebration, and it is in those moments that you learn so much about yourself and what you desire, as well.
I am grateful for heartbreak, because it shows me what I want. I am grateful for rejection, because it shows me how much I value loyalty. I am grateful for need, because it makes me value things I have all the more. And, I am grateful for being treated poorly, because it shows me how others would want to be treated, as well.
So, this holiday, don't just thank God and others for pleasure but pain, not just love but lack, and not just success but the valley. Our shepherd has had his own time in the valley, and knows best what we need along the way, as he guards us from wrong steps and guides us towards a future we will greatly enjoy.