[Grace] is unearned love–the love that goes before, that greets us on the way. It’s the help you receive when you have no bright ideas left, when you are empty and desperate and have discovered that your best thinking and most charming charm have failed you. Grace is the light or electricity or juice or breeze that takes you from that isolated place and puts you with others who are as startled and embarrassed and eventually grateful as you are to be there.
~Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith
The more I understand the mind and the human experience, the more I begin to suspect there is no such thing as unhappiness; there is only ungratefulness.
Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.
~William Arthur Ward
The unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings.
~Henry Ward Beecher
With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.
~Wayne W. Dyer
The quote above probably causes most of us a good bit of consternation. It’s a tough either/or situation. Okay, so I might be able to drag myself out of having a pity party with some situations, but treating something truly awful as a gift? I have struggled with this more than once, beginning with my father’s death when I was sixteen.
I think timing is a big factor in tragic situations, such as the unthinkable loss of a child. One must have time and space, sometimes years, to absorb such a heart-wrenching loss. And yet…we’ve all seen stories of loved ones who used the illness or death of a child or other family member to galvanize themselves into action—to start a non-profit or other campaign to help other families facing a similar illness or to reform gun control or to alert others to the dangers of drinking and driving. Choosing to take such actions certainly becomes a gift to countless others, and I think it becomes a gift to the loved ones as well, in that it allows the family members to move forward, to turn their loss into something positive and not remain stuck in the past. Continue reading
Some days, just getting through the day is like slogging through molasses. Sometimes, even when you can list a thousand things for which you are immensely grateful, and point to many things that are going well, the wet blanket of all-that’s-wrong/all-that’s-lacking/all-that-could-go-wrong covers everything, even the good stuff, in a heavy, grey, cloudy mass. Eventually, you reach a point where trying to throw off the blanket seems like so. much. work.
How do you get out of those periods? How do you scrabble your way up through the murk to the light again? I don’t think there’s one way that’s right for everyone. However, I do think there is a truth inherent in such periods of darkness. This truth is that, just as the body signals disease with physical symptoms, these periods of dark discomfort let us know there is something that needs our attention, something that needs to be looked at more closely, something that we’ve been sweeping under the rug, hiding behind the door, shutting away in a closet.
This is where I’ve been in recent months. First, I swept because I was busy. Then I hid because I was exhausted and not ready to look. Then I shut because it had become too painful. Continue reading
In that inevitable, excruciatingly human moment, we are offered a powerful choice. This choice is perhaps one of the most vitally important choices we will ever make, and it determines the course of our lives from that moment forward. The choice is this: Will we interpret this loss as so unjust, unfair, and devastating that we feel punished, angry, forever and fatally wounded– or, as our heart, torn apart, bleeds its anguish of sheer, wordless grief, will we somehow feel this loss as an opportunity to become more tender, more open, more passionately alive, more grateful for what remains?
~Wayne Muller, A Life of Being, Having, and Doing Enough