I wrote recently about my conflicted feelings regarding the holidays. Thanksgiving last week had me thinking further on the seeming conflicting emotions of gratitude and grief.
I love gratitude.
I keep a gratitude journal every day. I look for things – big and small – to be grateful for in the ordinary days and the extraordinary days. Gratitude fills me up. It reminds me of all the beauty that still exists in my life in spite of, along side, and perhaps because of, all the hard things I have and do experience.
Grief. Well, that I’m not as fond of.
I can be, however, grateful for what grief has given me. For the person I’ve become as a result of grief. For the people I’ve met and experiences I’ve had along my journey with grief. For the life and career that evolved out of my experiences with grief.
Though sometimes it can be quite a stretch, there are times when I can be grateful for grief itself, because it means I have been blessed enough to love deeply. I can’t always get to this level of gratitude – not when the grief is especially overwhelming and painful.
I have trained myself to look for the bits of gratitude, for the bits of the beauty of life even in the worst of my grief.
And I’ve discovered that these bits of gratitude bring light and glimmers of peace into even the worse feelings of grief. Gratitude is the light that guides the way through grief.
Gratitude and Grief. Conflicting, perhaps. Both are gifts to my life.