Throughout November, I have had the sweet experience of reading the points of gratitude that my friends have been posting online. So very, very much of what they say rings true in my own life and many times, I could have not said it as eloquently as they have. Their comments have helped me take stock of the things I am thankful for in my own life and I have been renewed as I recognize and relish the gifts I have been so kindly given. So for that, friends, I thank you very much.
I have very often said and I firmly believe that our lives are a reflection of the gratitude that we feel and that what we do with our lives shows our God, whichever God you do or don’t believe in, that we are–indeed–thankful. At the end of my life will I be asked if I was grateful for blessings bestowed? I don’t know. Will viewing what became of my life say every kind thank you in a most beautiful and pure way? I hope so. While I know I am not perfect and cannot possibly do all things right, I do know that I can show my gratitude to the best of my ability through living an authentic life, MY authentic life, the best that I know how.
In rummaging through my digital brain, I found this morsel from years ago:
“Had an “ah-hah!” moment last night.
The husband and I went to a movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”. I was skeptical as to whether or not I would like it because I had heard reports that it was very long…and typically when my butt falls asleep in a movie, it is not a good sign. Little did I know that I was about to be touched in a way that I truly needed…
Benjamin Button is an oddity. He was born old and grows younger as time goes on. Living his life in reverse, he has a different experience than the rest of us though his perspective is very much the same. This story circles around important people in his life and how their lives intersect time and again…and how he learns to let go. You very much get the idea that Benjamin’s life is a process of learning and growing and loving; experiences and opportunities–both missed and profited from. Even those people whom he associates with offer their gems of wisdom about life. Some are expected, such as those from his mama. Others are not and are beautifully subtle and important, nonetheless.
And so, here is what I realized, though there is so much more that cannot be translated into words.
I am not broken. I am not damaged, I am not second-best, I am not tarnished or defective.
There is nothing wrong with me. I am exactly who I should be. There is nothing wrong with the way I think or feel, though the way I have believed my entire life dictates to me otherwise. I am learning and growing and changing into the person that I will eventually become and there is NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING wrong or broken about that. Stepping outside of something that you have always embraced takes courage. It is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign that I want to be MORE than I thought I could ever want.
For the first time ever I realized that life is to be experienced and that I shouldn’t fear it or doubt it. This life–my life–is made up of so much of the good and bad that comes to someone by simply living and that is what I am doing. Simply living. I am living and discovering and it’s never too late to surprise yourself. Feeling, thinking, doing, trying, wanting, seeing, questioning, deciding, abandoning, returning, loving, caring, embracing…these are all things I have done within the lines drawn by others. Stepping out and beyond those lines is not to be feared as long as I can be honest with myself and others. Realizing that there is so much more to me than I ever acknowledged is a priceless gift and not one to be exposed with agonizing trepidation.
I am me. My life is a gift to be savored. I am not broken.
Now I can begin to live.”
Perhaps of all of the things I am most grateful for this Thanksgiving-time, I am thankful for this particular lesson learned because it has influenced me in so many ways. This unexpected gem of wisdom has blessed me time and again and in turn become an integral part of who I am. When I see the path I have trod over the course of the past years, I can clearly see that although I am not what I ever though I would be, spiritually speaking, I am so much closer to who I am supposed to be. I can feel it. And I hope to show it and live it so that my unending gratitude to my Father in Heaven is plainly seen.
Finally, this thought from the movie:
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”
I hope to live a life I am proud of. I hope you do, too.