Thankful Thursday: Bad Things

“Bad stuff wakes you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.”

Today I’m thankful for all the pain in life. Odd thing to be grateful for, isn’t it? But the above quote sums it up: we don’t always appreciate what we have until we’re reminded of how things could be.

I’m grateful for recent interactions with mentally ill loved ones. Though painful at the time, each episode awakened me to what a blessing it is to be mentally healthy. (Not that I don’t have my issues—we all have issues. But it sure could be a lot worse. I am thankful that I don’t know what it’s like to live with such a huge degree of internal turmoil.)

I’m grateful for the heartache I felt when I read through a friend’s legal forms to set up custody arrangements in her impending divorce. I am so sorry she is going through this—it all seems so overwhelming. But I seriously considered divorce when Donnie and I were having problems after he returned from the war. When I saw the details spelled out before me of what we’d have had to go through—of what our children would’ve had to go through—I was so thankful that it didn’t happen. I don’t always take the time to thank God for the quiet, solid, mature marriage Donnie and I have today, but it is a blessing and a testament to healing. I know that reconciliation isn’t always possible (or even preferable, as in my friend’s case) but I am grateful that Donnie and I are still together.

I’m thankful that I get to be with my grandmother during her last days alive. I hate seeing her suffering. I hate it. If I could’ve chosen her way to pass, it would’ve been quick and painless.  If anyone ever deserved that, it’s my sweet grandmother. Yet, she suffers, and has for well beyond what anyone, including her doctors, predicted. It’s especially hard to uncover the good behind this, yet it’s there. I’ve had plenty of time to make sure she knows how much I love her. She is still mentally coherent most of the time, and has told me again and again how precious I am to her, how beautiful I am, all the wonderful things she’s said to me always but I never truly took to heart until now. She lights up when the boys and I visit, and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such pure joy behind someone’s eyes when I walked into the room. What a gift. What an amazing gift of beautiful memories that I will have, always. And had she died suddenly, I wouldn’t have experienced this.

As my friend and previous pastor Beth used to say, it is from thorns that roses grow.

Thank God for the thorns.

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5 replies on “Thankful Thursday: Bad Things”

  1. Wow, Kari, did I need to read this after the week I have had. My refrigerator died, my stove died, my son had surgery….but I just realized how much harder it could have been. Thank you.

    When I look at the fact that Joe & I have worked out our differences and have reconciled, I know how lucky I am to have married such a wonderful, understanding man.

    Again, thank you for reminding me just how blessed my life is.

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