Thanksgiving is approaching: a time when we give thanks for food, friends, family and health. Have you noticed that we normally only give thanks for all the things that are going “right” in our lives? But, how often do we give thanks for absolutely EVERYTHING in our lives, even the situations that we deem “negative” or “bad?”

I am entering into this Thanksgiving with an attitude of gratitude not only for my successes, my friendships, my relationships, my health and the “things” in my life, but with thanks for those difficulties, those challenges that ended up being opportunities for new growth.

A thanks for those failed relationships that taught me true love. A thanks for those financial challenges that forced me to analyze my priorities. A thanks for those “brick walls” that I felt up against, that taught me how to climb. A thanks for those broken hearts, that opened me up inside. A thanks for those set-backs, that showed me that I was headed in the wrong direction. A thanks for those rejections that taught me self-worth. A thanks for those tears that showed how deeply I cared. A thanks for losses incurred, that taught me that I never really “had” anything. A thanks for the stress that told me to slow down. A thanks for that fear of the unknown, that taught me how to live in the moment. A thanks for the doubt, that brought me closer to God. A thanks for the “dark night of the soul” that showed me the truth of who I am beyond my experiences.

A thanks for the pain, that cracked me open. I am reminded of a quote that says, “what is death to the acorn, is birth to the Oak Tree.” I know that beyond anything that we deem “negative,” “bad,” or “painful,” that there is a “peace,” an “opportunity,” or a “blessing.”

I give thanks for all the “experiences” of life that are a natural part of being in this human body, for they continue to show me the truth of who I am beyond name and form. I give thanks for endings, because I know that the ending of one thing, is the beginning of something else. I give thanks for all the “experiences” or “difficulties” in life that connect me with that unalterable, unshakable peace of God inherent within. I give thanks for absolutely EVERYTHING!

November 2003
By Lisa Hepner