I'm going to be blunt: this past year has been one of the hardest years of my life. Loss was a major hallmark this year ~ dramatic, ugly, shocking loss, the kind that happens to "other people," that you see on the news and think, "Wow, can you imagine?" They don't even make a sympathy card for this sort of thing; words I heard over and over at the time were, "I'm so sorry . . . I don't even know what to say."
Even so, there were plenty of good things too. Really good things, in fact. But it took me a while to appreciate them. I was knocked off course for a while, and even after things started aligning themselves again, I developed the really bad habit of focusing not on what I had, but on what I had lost. And this one great loss carried over into the rest of my life, like a single drop of dye spreading through and staining an entire glass of water. I became preoccupied with things that were missing, and so I began to miss out on what was actually present, available, and even wonderful.
But the good news is, tragedy has a way of bringing a unique sort of clarity to us. If we are willing, we start to see, after a while, what really matters and what maybe doesn't matter nearly as much as we thought it did, before. I believe that if you can learn from something, even something terrible, you can redeem it. And so I've tried, really tried, to learn from the things that have occurred this year.
I've learned that people can be amazingly gracious, kind, and merciful. I've learned (again!) to never say never ~ and to realize that sometimes that means something good, and sometimes it means the polar opposite. I've learned that I don't know anything about some things, and more than I'd like about others. And I've learned a very valuable, painful lesson in empathy.
So coming up on this year's Month of Thanksgiving 3rd Annual Blessings Countdown, I'm excited to look over my blessings with an eye freshened by tears and sharpened by regret. I'm taking scrupulously careful stock of my blessings, not just the large, life-changing ones like the personal relationship I share with Jesus Christ, or my husband and children and family, or my health and home . . . but any little thing that inspires my heart toward gratitude in the course of "regular" days.
And you. I'd love to hear about your blessings, too. The simple gifts, the gentle reminders of how you are loved, the ways you remember what it is to be happy. Let's give thanks ~ not just on one day sandwiched between Halloween candy and Christmas decorations. Let's take back November. We have plenty of blessings to share.
~ Para mi tia, MMS, con besos . . . te amo.