An Unconventional Gratitude List

I’m going to be honest with you.  I’ve never done well with gratitude lists.

Last winter, I tried to write them everyday.  I wanted to see the roses amongst the thorns.  But it seemed…forced.  And almost like I was in denial, since it was the thorns that I thought were ripping me to shreds.

But that is because I didn’t understand gratitude.  I didn’t understand that the thorns are a part of the rose.  If I love the rose, I have to love it in its entirety.  If I am grateful for the rose, I must also be grateful for the thorns.

So, this Thanksgiving, I am giving thanks for all the thorns of the past year, that have turned out to be a part of the rose:

  • I am grateful for my misinterpretations of reality, based on ghosts from my past.  Because nothing in my life has been more rewarding than waking up from this, and reality looks all the more beautiful when I see it for what it is.
  • I am grateful for the struggles I went through over the past winter.  Because through those struggles I learned not only to accept love, but to find it within myself and share it with those around me.  I learned that I am stronger than I could have possibly imagined, and that life truly is what I make of it.
  • I am grateful for my daughter’s health problems and challenges.  Because they have allowed us to form a closer bond than I knew was possible.  And her unique perspective on life brings her more joy and happiness than anyone else I know.
  • I am grateful for the arguments and disagreements I have with my husband.  Because they allow us to get to know each other better, and to love each other more fully.
  • I am grateful for the challenges I have had since moving here.  Because they have allowed me to learn to love myself and trust myself–and that is where true love and compassion for all humanity starts.
  • I am grateful for the mistakes I have made and the unpleasant tendencies I have discovered within myself.  Because they have taught me not to judge, but to look beyond the surface to see what is truly there.  This understanding of myself has allowed me to better understand those around me.
  • I am grateful for the fear I have experienced.  Because fear always carries with it a lesson, and an opportunity to better understand myself, those around me, and the world in general.
  • I am grateful for the confusion I have experienced.  Because it means I don’t know all of the answers, and that life still has lessons and surprises in store for me.
  • I am grateful for the times I have been wrong.  Because the truth was always greater than that which I believed to be truth.
  • I am grateful for every dark night in my life.  Because each time, the night was followed by a beautiful sunrise.

So, this Thanksgiving, take some time to adopt gratitude as a state of mind, rather than a list.  There are lessons to be learned from life’s storms, if we are willing to be open to them.

What thorns in your life, have turned out to be part of a beautiful rose?

Note: I have notified all of the winners, of my Advent Calendar.  However, you still have plenty of time to order yours, for $1.99.  We’re hoping that you will join us, in simplifying and finding peace during the countdown to Christmas!

Texas Women Bloggers

15 thoughts on “An Unconventional Gratitude List

  1. Hi Bethany! This is lovely. You KNOW I have to link it on this week’s gratitude post for my 30-Day Gratitude Challenge don’t you? It is honest and hopeful at the same time and I appreciate all the transformation you’ll allowed yourself to go through. It’s not easy or fun sometimes to face what you’ve experienced, but you are so much stronger and wiser that before….and that you’ll have for the rest of your life. Thank You! ~Kathy

  2. I so love how you expressed this. I’ve had a few weeks of brain block but this may have opened the dam. I often write that I am grateful for the contrast in life. It shows me what I’m wanting more of by letting me experience what I don’t want. We must have the rain for the rainbow. I will have to read this several times. It’s quite wonderful.

  3. Now that was different but I like it more than the regular gratitude lists I’ve read in the past. Much like you, I tend to view my life today from the perspective of what I didn’t have in the past, or as you pointed out from what we would see as the thorns. I don’t believe we can appreciate the good we have as much if there hadn’t been a struggle to reach it.

  4. It’s wonderful that you were able to see this in your own life. I find it so much easier to see how “bad” things were actually good for OTHER people. I try with myself and sometimes succeed, but it’s difficult.

  5. I love this unconventional gratitude list.

    I will add one:

    I am thankful for my medical issues and upcoming surgery in January because it has helped to shape a new and exciting direction in my life.

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