Friday, November 19, 2010

friday five: gratitude up, with a twist

At RevGals Jan writes: With the American holiday of Thanksgiving being less than a week away, I tried to think of some questions for Friday Five that could be connected to this, but in a new way. So here is my one try:

Name five things that were unexpected in your life that you are now grateful for.

This friday five really challenges me. I think the twist that Jan is putting on the usual gratitude post relates to redemption.  What unexpected thing/event/heartbreak/disappointment was redeemed such that I can now be thankful for it. It's a sad reflection on my present life and circumstances that it is difficult for me to think of things to name here. But, I'll try!

1) Letting go, letting God. Once upon a time I loved a man who didn't love me back. The irony of this predicament is that he initiated the relationship, and we dated for several months. On my way to what I knew would be our last date, I offered up a prayer that God would make the relationship right. We enjoyed a good time together that evening, and as I headed home, I was enveloped with a sense of peace that all would be well. It took eighteen months, heartbreak, soul-searching, and prayer, and then one day, all was well. Through those intervening months God worked to redeem the relationship from broken romance to solid platonic friendship. It has been good ever since. It was my first significant experience of transformation in relationship, and was a powerful sign to me of God's working in my life. That's a gratitude "no brainer!"

2) Marrying into a military family. As a lifelong pacifist I never expected to be in a close relationship with anyone in the military. Imagine my surprise when I married someone retired from the Army!  My (step) son was an army Ranger when I joined this family, and he now involved in Ranger training. It is a regular challenge to be opposed to a military response to conflict while loving and supporting someone engaged in that response. Yet I am and I do, and that strange juxtaposition is made possible by love. That's the short version of my gratitude.

3) Aging. Okay, well, aging is expected, but what comes with it can be unexpected. The wisdom acquired through life's trials and tribulations, successes and failures makes it possible to endure all manner of insanity manifesting itself in the world. The farce that passes as our political system is one case in point. It makes me crazy on the one hand, but on the other hand I have learned to trust time and God's justice in transforming wrongs to rights. Sometimes I am disappointed in that realm, too, but I have learned to live with that. I have a deep and abiding patience and tolerance for the inane and thoughtless actions of others, and can let a lot of things roll off my back. I don't tend to waste energy on things over which I have no control, and for that I am very grateful.

4) Forgiveness

5) My childhood. In concert with efforts to attain better mental health through my life and "grow up," I've unpacked the events and contributing circumstances of my personal "issues" that stem from my family of origin. I never expected to look back at those same years through eyes that have yielded enormous gratitude for other aspects of my youth. I have done this,  in part, thanks to some of the our friday fives, and I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the questions and shared responses that have led to my reflections. Dysfunction notwithstanding, I had a great childhood.


The Bug said...

This is a reminder that there's always something to be greatful for - even though we feel far away from gratitude at the moment.

Your aging response really struck a chord with me. I've always been so RIGHTEOUS - but age has shown that the same things happen & don't happen with or without all that fervor. I can just CALM DOWN now. It's much less stressful :)

Sally said...

Forgiveness- perfect, how could I have forgotten...

Wendy said...

I really like where you took this. I didn't think about it in that way, yet several of my answers fit the idea of redemption, too.

Jan said...

Anne, you really spent some time on these answers. I value what you shared. I hope you can feel the love surrounding you and within you. You show that to me often.

Jayne said...

I really LOVE these. xoxo

prudy said...

glad you are feeling better,anne - sometimes it is better not to think too much and just let be...let me know if yiu and Ken every have a vacation- jennifer and i would love for you to use out edisto beach sits lonely a lot of the time. about 9 hours from where you are..

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