Gratitude, Again

Let me take this moment to breathe a sigh of relief and say: Thank God April is almost over. Whew.

It’s not that April was a completely horrible month. It was more of April kicking me in places that I didn’t know even really existed. I wasn’t particularly sad, but it felt like there were too many things this month that had been pulling me down. It was harder to be happy and stay happy because I was worrying about a million and one things, I was busy with a thousand and probably paranoid about a hundred things. Almost everything is getting into my nerves. I was hardly calm, and even when I find a sense of calm sometimes, something happens (or I do something stupid) that knocks me off balance again and I go back. Lather, rinse, repeat.

But April is also good, in a lot of ways. I surfed. It was our book club’s anniversary month, so we had a ton of activities here and there — book covering for hours and hours, my first outreach event, our first (real) pool party, and a road trip across the city to watch a movie that is showing everywhere but we wanted to watch it there just because. There were phone conversations, assurances and things to remind me of who I am, of what I am capable of, and people who are willing to stay up to 2 in the morning talking to me because I feel unsettled. There were lots of laughter. And hope. Lots of hope.

So while April is busy kicking my butt, it’s also busy trying to teach me a lesson. Or several lessons. Most of them are too lengthy to blog about — patience (as always), balance, trust, friendships and relationships, graciousness. And just recently: gratitude.

Remember how at the end of March, I was so grateful for all the things that I was given during my favorite month? How all I can say was thank you, and my heart was bursting with gratitude because it was such a beautiful month? I wanted so much to get into that state again in the midst of April, to be grateful for the good things again because it’s easy to be thankful then. It’s easy to go back to those happy moments and say thank you. But when things aren’t going my way? I can’t even say thank you at all.

However, I have learned that gratitude isn’t exclusively for the good things. Gratitude applies to good and bad things. It takes a lot of maturity and courage to give thanks for the bad just as you say “thank you” for the good. It’s all about perspective, they say, and that’s true. I just forget it too easily.

Image from we heart it
Image from we heart it

April is ending, whew. I am happy it is, and thankful for all the lessons it has taught me. I’m pretty sure it’s far from over, but thank you anyway, April. I won’t miss you, but thank you. For May…

…I pray for the strength and courage to be truly thankful, even when everything feels like they’re falling apart ((Often, they’re not. I just feel like it does, sometimes.))

…I pray for grace and peace for the moments when I worry, cry and complain, so I can just be grateful for being where I am.

…I pray for the trust that even if things aren’t going my way, I will remember that I am blessed and say thank you.

We’ll give thanks to You
With gratitude
For lessons learned in how to trust in You
That we are blessed beyond what we could ever dream
In abundance or in need. ((Gratitude, Nichole Nordeman))

* * *

I think I starred the most blog posts during this month. This is a clear indication of my emotional state, I think. ;) But I’m not going to link them all of course. Just some of my very favorites, that I hope will help you just as much as they helped me this month. :)

  • dear hilary: the bass notes (the wild love)

    I think that this is what your sadness, the things that you complain about but wish you didn’t – is, at its root. It is the bass line of your song. It is deepening work, these nights of peeling parsnips and sitting with loneliness. It makes your melody a fuller story, in a way that nothing else could.

  • if anything hurts (Sunday Morning)

    that sometimes you are nothing more
    than skin and sweat and sinew, and sometimes you are
    so much. tell the other truth, the bigger one: that no
    one——not with our breath and veins and the songs that
    keep us up at night——was meant to temper the swirling
    and shifting within, that no one was ever born to love

  • Can men and women actually be friends? Part Two (Prodigal Magazine)

    Constantly defining every detail of every interaction may make me feel calm for a moment, but it didn’t help me mature. I was trying to build my security on information about a person, instead of risking trust with that person. Healthy friendships don’t make us consistently make us feel crazy or out of control, but by their nature, they don’t put us completely in charge. We have got to recognize that ambiguity isn’t our enemy. It may be healthy to live in an open place occasionally, working things out in your own heart and letting them be, rather than just shouting ‘no’ and rejecting the relationship at any sign of discomfort.

  • 12 Lessons You Need to Learn Before Settling Down (Thought Catalog)

    Relationships are tricky and take a lot of figuring out, especially in that crucial stage where you are trying to figure out if you’re even in a relationship. However, in the rush to label everything and skip to the part where you’re all settled and have everything set, you squander a lot of the things that make relationships so exciting.

  • dear hilary: be braver (the wild love)

    Living vulnerably is not a thing to be achieved, my dear friend. It is more a striving to live according to the great privilege it is to be alive, a striving to offer your fullest self because you believe that self is so radiant, so very real, that to offer less is to be less. It is a striving, a blossoming, a becoming.

  • Managing Desperation (Allison Vesterfelt)

    I lose a small piece of myself when I pretend like I don’t want things I want.

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