I am thankful for what I have now, for a safe home, a loving family, a meaningful life, the little physical comforts I’m afforded.
I am also thankful for the hell I’ve been through. The pain and despair and loss have made me who I am now, in part. I would not be here right now, I don’t believe, if it were not for those things. I would not be as strong now, or as grateful for what I do have. I would not know how to protect others nearly as well, or how to be a leader, or what real loss really means. I would not know the utter depths of the dark night of the soul that make the light shine all the brighter.
I’ve been told that to become a true priest, or shaman, or holy person, you must go through a literal death and rebirth. I’ve been torn limb from limb and left to die in a dark pit of my own making But, somehow, I survived. I survived in that darkness for long years that felt like long forevers, every day opening my eyes to realize that I was one day farther away from that death, but never getting any closer to a real life.
Weeks, months, years. I was a dead man walking. The only reason I wasn’t in a grave is that I wouldn’t stop moving. Even if I felt nothing, I kept moving. Movement was forward, and maybe forward could lead to something that didn’t feel like being alive just for the purpose of atoning for my sins every moment of every day.
I found that the one thing I had left was a spark of hope in my heart. Then I learned that the spark wasn’t just my own hope, it was light. Somehow, a tiny bit of who I was had survived, like someone carries a tiny coal inside a container for miles and miles until they reach their next camp, then they blow on it and it springs to life.
That spark, that light of the Source… it was there all the time. It gave me hope. It kept me moving. I found my way out of the darkness by following that slender thread.
I have never once, for one minute of one day, not been grateful for what I have now. That includes the lessons of the darkness that enable me to be what others need. The strength, the skill, the creativity, the leadership, the flexibility… I had those things before, but the darkness pounded and forged me into a weapon for the light. An instrument of God. And that is what I’m thankful for.