Sometimes the greatest gifts are disguised as burdens.
Like my wife’s frequent life-threatening illnesses, which have caused me to reflect and be thankful for each and every moment of our almost 28 years together. We don’t sweat the small stuff, and we never let the sun set over an argument. It keeps me biblical in that regard.
The betrayal by a close friend taught me to appreciate the friends who have stayed true.
Dealing with disability and weight issues caused me to develop some character and an actual personality that doesn’t rely on physical beauty, which can be lost in an instant.
Seeing so many former friends on the Colonial High School memorial page who have passed on too soon teaches me that each minute is a precious gift from God.
Losing friends to suicide and feeling the pain that visits those who care most about them helps me to realize that however dark the night seems, morning will come, and somehow God will give me the strength to make it through and do what I can to ease the burdens of others.
Witnessing truly evil acts has showed me that there are so many beautiful acts of kindness that mitigate the pain caused by these sick people.
Seeing children in poverty laughing and enjoying the smallest things in their too-hard life has made me appreciate my comparatively easy life.
Seeing the worst of people and realizing that they still retain the image of God has helped me understand that while they breathe there is hope for redemption. God has not abandoned them, and neither should I.
I’ve also learned from having the most unlikely people come to my aide when I needed help, while the people I expected to help abandoned me.
All of this gives me a new appreciation for Paul’s advice in 1 Thessalonians 5:15: “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.”
As we count our blessings, let’s not leave out our painful ones.