Being thankful has proven to be a growth process like everything else on the path to spiritual maturity.  And like everything else I can only view it as a process once I’ve stood at a later stage of development and look back upon it. In the beginning, at the dawn of my thankfulness, it was primarily learning to be grateful for the obvious when good fortune came my way, for a gift on birthdays and Christmas and such obvious things children are delighted over.  Later, I learned to be thankful for certain blessings in my life:  free of disease, my children’s goodness and their health and happiness.  I eventually learned to be thankful for the small things we often take for granted, a cold cup of water, access to ice, plumbing and refrigeration, automobiles and microwaves, conveniences that many in the world live without.  By far the hardest I’ve faced is the last stage I fully accepted….thankfulness for trauma.

It’s difficult to be thankful for pain, especially when we can’t yet see any reason for it.  I’ve endured much in my life, some things are so painful I’ve blocked the memory from my mind.  There are seven years of my childhood that I have mostly removed from my conscious thought.  I’ve also endured near 20 years of untreated schizophrenia and post traumatic stress that have surfaced in my addictions, depression, and dissociative identity disorder.  I’m learning to live with my mental disabilities, and because I’m coming to a point that I like who I am becoming along my spiritual journey, I have become thankful for the past because if it had happened any different I might not be who I am today.

Just recently, I have been willing to see trauma as a necessary precursor to spiritual growth, so that I am beginning to be open to trauma in the lives of those I care about.  It has always been my hope that my family and friends would live free of those things that cause such misery and grief, yet without much exception I see those who achieve great spiritual strides have usually endured great hardships and loss along the way.  It seems based on the evidence that those who know the greatest love also experience the greatest sorrows.  So, in wishing people to have uneventful lives free of pain, I am actually hoping they never grow or know some of the joy and grandeur that has been a blessing to me.  I honestly believe much of what I’ve experienced in Love and silent serenity is a balance to the pain I have experienced and continue to burden along the way.  Forgiveness which was the precursor to thanksgiving opened much of that, not forgiveness for me, as is the common Christian pursuit for God Loves me exactly as I am, so there is nothing to forgive, but forgiveness of others and the pain I’ve endured through their lives.  (On the basis of brevity I will save the discussion of sin for another entry.)  I find freedom through forgiveness, and once I have freedom, thanksgiving soon follows.

Now, although I dread the thought of family and friends going through anything even close to what I’ve endured, I understand now why God doesn’t protect us from these experiences for they serve as a catalyst to eventually propel us deeper into that Unity and Oneness. Sure, we can choose not to pursue it, and there is that risk taken that someone will not overcome the hurt done, yet once we see life as more than just our physical span of experience then it isn’t so great that can’t be mended.  I don’t have the answers, at least not yet, about where life goes beyond this world, but I know Life does exist, because Love never ends, so death cannot overcome it.  In this, as with most later stages of maturity, objective reason is not substantial to the steps and thus faith is required in the growth, faith that subjective truth is just as real, if not more so than objective proof.  In this all I can say is I’ve experienced this to be so, and those that have not will either hope that I’m right or insist that I’m wrong.  My path is clear and the peace that I now know in my heart is evidence to me of this Truth.

7 thoughts on “Thankfulness

  1. I understand exactly what you’re saying. Pain keeps you aware and being aware is the only way you have a chance at spiritual growth. Otherwise, you live on automatic pilot.

  2. I’ve always believed that pain and trauma help shape who we are or become…even though it is hard to be thankful for the experience. HE knows what he’s doing 🙂

  3. Being thankful and finding gratitude even during the worst of times can turn things around in most cases. When hubby and I are having a case of “the whole world is crap” we pull out our gratitude list and change our attitudes.

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