Many of you probably clicked on this post simply out of curiosity. After all, this year has been horrendous. I, out of all people, should know. And yet, I can't help but be thankful. No, not because Thanksgiving is here and I am required to be. Not even just because I'm a Christian, though that is a great enough reason. But rather, because for all the bad it has brought, I'm finding the silver linings. I think each of should look back and see those slivers of good. They are tiny rays of hope in the darkness.
Feeling my way in the dark
More than once this year, I have felt alone. I had that feeling of being in a room filled with people, but having no voice. Being invisible. All the while, talking and sharing in whatever was going on with those around me. It wasn't always like that though.
Before the pandemic forced us all into our own corners to cower, another event happened. Something that changed me. In a big way. I used to be comfortable speaking about any topic with any person. After this one event, however, that changed. Now, I'm cautious. Now I have moments of walking on eggshells. Sure, I slip up. But I have gotten back to being the one that tries to listen more and speak less. Unless I am around someone I really trust and who can handle me as I am, I try to keep my opinions, or voice, to myself. As the world has continued to changed, I have seen how so many people have an opinion, but are so against allowing others to have their opinions. When did we become people who thought our ways of thinking were the only way to think? When did we start laughing at others, just because they see things differently? I might not be able to speak my mind. I might not be able to share my life with most of the people I know, even family. But I can listen. And try to support those I cross paths with. I won't be another voice adding to the din. Instead, I'm working to be a voice of encouragement.
Beauty in the pain
I'm no stranger to pain. I've dealt with it for years. And I will deal with it until I die. 2020 has just been a year that took it to a whole new level. I've had 2 surgeries dealing with my faulty gallbladder (that was finally removed). Then there were the 3 wisdom teeth that led to dry socket - how can 1 tooth's' absence hurt SO much?! An ovarian cyst formed - I thought for sure my appendix was killing me. And of course there is the worsening of my spinal issues.
Seeing truth amid the lies
This last one is harder for me. I grew up in a close, but large family. I was surrounded by people. And while I'm more of an introvert at heart, I have extrovert tendencies when I get comfortable around people. One characteristic of mine, is to be loyal. I call it a blessing and curse. A blessing in that I will remain loyal to, and be there for, anyone I form a close relationship with. A curse in that I have a knack for being hurt the hardest by those I am most loyal to. This year, I took a heavy hit. I still have a relationship with certain people, but I can never trust them to be completely open and honest. Nor can I feel comfortable in being myself around them. I know their personality, their habits and the damage they are capable of causing without even knowing they are doing it. They smile and chat and act like everything is just fine. That nothing has changed. Under the surface, however, they would have to be fools to believe that is the case.
So this year has taught me another lesson I'm grateful for. Be loving and interactive, but keep enough distance to stay safe. I don't want to alienate myself and my family, but I will be cautious of what others say and do. Relationships always come with the risk of being burned. But choosing to abstain completely from them, causes a great deal of loneliness. It can be a difficult choice to make. I have chosen to toughen up as well as clam up. I can't shut the door completely, but that doesn't mean I have to give them fuel for their fires against me. And if they say something that hurts, I need to let it roll off my back.
I have 2 pillars for strength
I think of the Bible story of Samson, standing between two pillars. Well, there are 2 that hold me up. Physically and emotionally speaking, my husband has been my stronghold. I couldn't get through all this without him. And I couldn't be more thankful for him. My second chance at a happy life came with him. And I will never be the same.
More importantly, however, and spiritually speaking, I have God. And even if everything else was taken from me, He is all I need to get through every heartbreak, every trial, every disappointment and all the pain this life throws my way. I wake up with prayers for strength to endure the day. I fall asleep praying for peace, safety, and grace for those in my life. And I thank God for the trials. That little by little, He is molding me and making me into something new. Something better. Something closer to Him.
These things are that I am thankful for. No matter how bad things might get, I'm going to look for the good it serves. There is always a silver lining. And a purpose to what is happening. What is one bad thing that happened to you that you found the good of?