When I was thinking about gratitude (like most people do this time of year), I asked myself the question, how deep is my gratitude? Do I let my gratitude resonate into my heart and soul, truly, I mean truly deep into my soul or does it remain on the surface? Now it’s easy to answer that question in regards to the people in my life. When I think about Grant and the gratitude I feel for having him in my life, for getting to be in his life, for the life we share together, that gratitude is what fuels my soul…it is my heart. The gratitude that I feel for my family, friends and of course Obie runs deep in my heart – this is what I am grateful for each and every day, and I think these are the “easy” things to be grateful for. Now, when I say “easy” it doesn’t take away their value…it’s just those are the things that are the strongest forms of gratitude in my life, you probably have those people/things too. And wow…how grateful do I feel to be able to, on a daily basis, feel and express my gratitude for what is in my life.
Now being perfectly honest, I know sometimes it can be really challenging to find the gratitude. Sometimes you have to dig really, really deep to be able to say, “thank you”. For me being willing to “see the silver lining” to the unexpected life-altering adversity which Grant and I have faced together, has given me the opportunity to see a beautiful side of humanity that I never would have before, and to witness the true power of the human spirit to persevere, despite pain and challenge. When I am able to search, dig, find and embrace gratitude in a situation that feels more difficult to do so, it is those moments that give me the most hope, strength and opportunity to learn from.
So now going back to my original question…how deep is my gratitude? Well it made me think of something that I have always believed, something I would share in the classes I used to teach, “every step, every choice you have ever made has led you to where you are today.” I really do believe this. Now, if you don’t like where you are well…maybe make some different choices. But that doesn’t take away from all the choices you made before. Those people that you have met, the people you had in your life (for maybe a long time or maybe a short time), the jobs you’ve had, the places you’ve lived, the adventures you’ve gone on, and even the myriad challenges (the loss, the heartaches, the life-altering adversity)…they have all shaped who you are in this very moment.
It’s these people and those past experiences which help define how you live your life, the choices you make today, and the decisions you will face in the future. For me, to create even more room in my heart for all things I am grateful for, to let them run deep (and not just stay on the surface), I am taking a conscious moment to truly feel grateful for all the steps, the people, the choices, the heartache and even the unexpected challenges I have experienced in my life…for these are the things that have made me who I am. And, if gratitude is the bridge to joy (which I believe it to be), then I want my bridge to be strong and sturdy…I want it to be built on pillars of hope, honor and love.
So this Holiday Season, I am not only thankful for the many incredible blessings I have in my life today, I am also grateful for every step, person, chapter, celebration and challenge I’ve experienced in the past. Because whether light, dark, high or low…all of these experiences allow me to truly be grateful for this moment I am living in now.