Life, to-do lists and chaos crowd out the moments of silence we need to allow thoughts of thankfulness to enter the flurry of thoughts swirling around in our brains. So much noise overpowers our thinking and ability to slow down, take a step back and gain some perspective.
But, nothing grabs your attention and slows you down faster than loss.
Loss of a loved one.
Loss of a marriage.
Loss of a friend.
Loss of a steady income.
Loss of a pet.
Loss of movement from an injury or illness.
Moments of loss can be painful, mind-numbing and soul draining. But, if we allow it, loss can also lead us to thankfulness. Allow me to share a few of my own experiences.
All of the above have happened to me over the last decade, with the majority occurring in the last few years. As painful as they were, on the other side of these losses, I’ve gained thankfulness for the lessons and legacies that have poured into me and shaped me into who I am today – a strong person living and thriving more authentically than I ever have in my life.
My Dad – I was a new mother at age 30 when I lost my favorite man, my Dad, to younger onset Alzheimer’s. I am thankful for the lessons he taught and the love he gave which are integral to how I am raising my daughter and how I live. I also got involved in the Alzheimer’s Association so that I could help others and contribute to finding a cure. Thank you, Dad, for the memories and the passion I have because of you.
My marriage – I survived the untangling of lives and what I once thought was insurmountable pain and defeat. I did the hard, emotional work to understand “how I got here,” and have diligently unlearned behaviors of accepting the unacceptable so that I can help my daughter break the cycle and I can live a joyful life free of darkness. Thank you, God, for carrying me through and chiseling away at the woman you created me to be.
My sweet friend, Michelle – Last month, I lost a close friend who was suddenly fighting for her life while the rest of us were going to battle praying for God to heal her. That was not His will, but, a piece of her lives on in each of us who loved her, looked to her and leaned on her. We want to love and lead with our families and community the way she did. What a blessing her legacy is. I am so thankful to you, Michelle.
Loss is hard. But, when we get to the other side of it, thankfulness is waiting. You are the only one who can choose to let it lead you along a reflective, positive path.
As you prepare to share Thanksgiving with family and friends, no matter the circumstances, slow down, take a step back and gain perspective. From the mundane to the significant, each and every one of us has so much for which we can be thankful.
What losses have led you to thankfulness?