Searching for the Good Things


When life feels heavy and hard for days on end, it feels impossible to find the good things that are there, hiding behind the wreckage.

I’m a hard sell on the gratitude train. Thankfulness lists feel corny, and many posts on gratitude leave me feeling uncomfortable and weird. I cringe when gratitude is touted as a cure all.

If you can just be thankful, your life will be amazing! 

Life isn’t so bad! You’re just imagining things! So have gratitude in your heart! 

You can do anything you want with your life, if you just keep being positive! 

You are awesome, and life is awesome, and everything is awesome!!!!!!


**backs slowly away**

The truth is that life is not always amazing, and gratitude does not fix everything.

The truth is that there are times in life when our mourning and our grief will outweigh the thankfulness, and this is as it should be. There are times in life when we will respond with heavy hearts. There is an order to this world. There is a natural cause and effect that we are allowed to follow. Heavy hearts that respond to a heavy world. Tears that respond to the sorrows of life. Grief that comes out of loss.

This is the natural and right way of things.

But just like I cringe when gratitude is touted as a cure all, I also cringe when life has become so heavy and dark that I stop seeing the places of light. I stop seeing the good. I stop seeing the gifts that God gives. I stop seeing the blessings, the joys, the reasons to give thanks. They are there, but I stop seeing them.

Last November 2014 was a horrible month embedded in the midst of several horrible months. I remember that month specifically for a two reasons. The first is because several important events happened, included some important training for my husband’s work and my husband’s birthday. The second is because a group of individuals on Twitter created a hashtag (#spooniethankful) that they used to write one thing they were thankful for each day, and I decided to join them.

It was good timing to get my mind focused on the good, because last November was one of my lowest of lows. I didn’t leave the couch except to shower, go to work a few hours a week, and cook a quick dinner. Trying to think of one good thing that I was thankful for every day was hard work, but it was one of the things that drew me through the long days, reminding me that when life is hard, it isn’t %100 hard. Good things are there behind the heaviness if we can just dig deep enough to find them.

The month of November is a natural time to consider giving thanks. And so, for the month of November, I will be looking for the good things. I’ll let you know how it goes. I have also declared November gratitude month over at my facebook group, a time to think long and hard about the place of gratitude in our lives and how it can be not a cure all, but one important component of drawing us through our lives of pain. Come join us if you would like! 

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