A time to give thanks.
For family. But what about the one who continually pushes our buttons?
For friends. But what about the one we can no longer trust?
For health. But what if it's not good?
Well, you get the idea — and it has never made a lot of sense to me for us to go around saying we are thankful for things gone wrong — the death of someone we love, mistakes we've made, broken relationships or poor health. It seems dishonest to pretend those things don't matter.
After a serious climbing accident in my 40th year, I was uncomfortable with people who wanted me to talk about it. I couldn't think of much to say except: “I fell. I had multiple broken bones and serious injuries. I survived. End of story.”
But then a wise friend suggested that instead of talking about what had happened to me, why not talk about what I was learning from what had happened to me.
That was easier. Rather than putting the emphasis on the brokenness and the pain, I began to talk about the countless friends who had written, prayed, visited, cooked, cleaned, cared for my children and laughed and cried with me.
Of course you can choose to hold onto your pain and your anger and your sadness and many people do. They are like old friends you don't want to give up.
Or, you might consider joining me in looking for those things in the midst of the difficulties for which we can be thankful.
It will not make the pain go away but I have found it has a way of seeing you through and can give you moments of quiet and calm. And when you feel like you can no longer bear the pain, just a moment of peace, here and there, can make a difference.
Charlotte Lankard is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.