Adversity Breeds Gratitude

It was Thanksgiving weekend here. We did celebrate with a lovely potluck family lunch.
Sometimes, my mother asks each of us to name one thing for which we are thankful before we begin to eat.
In the past I’ve balked. I often felt hard-done-by and not knowing what to say would make a glib comment of some sort or other.
This year, I didn’t want to be caught off guard so I’d been thinking about what I would say. With the challenges I’ve been facing it would be easy to dwell on the negatives; the injuries to my hands, the lack of work (and subsequent lack of income), the waves violence, intolerance, and disease that seem to be rising around the world. Not to mention the fears associated with climate change, corporate greed and human ignorance — droughts, floods, dying bees and butterflies. As I sat and contemplated my own small slice of the world I found myself filling with gratitude.
The love and generosity of family and friends — especially my sister — have seen us through the darkest moments. Our rent has been paid, bill payments met. Friends invited me to share tea in summer gardens, to go for coffee (their treat!), dinner with my mom when groceries were low, a birthday gift that allows me free admission to AGO (one of my favourite places), fresh herbs and produce from friends’ gardens, and time. I have had time to heal and create.
I now realize that adversity can breed gratitude. I know there are going to be times ahead when the path seems steeply uphill and into the dark. I also know that I am surrounded my friends and family carrying lanterns and willing to offer a hand.
My mom didn’t ask us to name that one thing we are grateful for. I was relieved, I wouldn’t have known what to say — I had too many choices.

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