Gratitude: A List of 10 Blessings in the Face of a Challenge

July 21, 2010

in Life Lessons

Red Adirondack chair in Deep Creek Maryland

Being present in life allows me to enjoy the view.

Gratitude: to possess this quality makes life richer. Yet there are times in life when a personal challenge makes feeling grateful difficult. When struggling, it is easy to become consumed with negativity. However, being grateful in the midst of a challenge is possible. It is even possible to identify and be grateful for something positive that is a direct result of a challenge.

If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.

~Rabbi Harold Kushner

There have been times in the year and a half I have been separated where gratitude has slipped away from me. Life has not felt as sweet as a result. Gratitude has only been lost for short periods of time, but each time I have felt sad and hopeless without it.

Recently gratitude disappeared again after a few divorce issues heated up. It was an unpleasant two weeks, but I discovered gratitude within me again on vacation this week. It was a much-needed reunion as I don’t feel like myself when I am not able to feel grateful.

These one and a half years have been the most difficult time in my adult life. Depression, fear, sadness, anger, disappointment, and distrust are all emotions that have wreaked havoc on me. But I have so much to be grateful for that I know I would not have experienced otherwise.

Ten things I am grateful for that are a direct result of my divorce:

  1. I breathe deeper.
  2. I am more relaxed.
  3. I am a better mom.
  4. I ask for help.
  5. I am a better daughter.
  6. I embrace my imperfections.
  7. I laugh often.
  8. I am present in life.
  9. I recognize true friendship.
  10. I am happy.

I am not as financially stable, have less time to train for races, am often frazzled as a single mom, am sleeping less, can’t keep the house in order, home maintenance frustrates me, and more. However, I am so grateful for the gifts I have received as a result of the challenge.

What about you?

Is there something you are grateful for that is a result of  a personal challenge?

If so, please share with a comment below.


{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Shanda July 21, 2010 at 9:23 am

I’m also a single mom who has dealt with divorce AND the death of her husband. It’s been quite a few years, and it’s taken time to heal, but I can honestly say that I’m grateful I went through it. It has shaped me into the strong woman I am today.

I love finding other single moms, and I especially love your blog. I’m subscribing and looking forward to getting to know you better.

I notice you do triathlons. That’s one of my goals. I’ve completed 4 half marathons, and I’m training for another in October.

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AKeo July 21, 2010 at 10:34 am

In about two years of my life – end of high school to college – I lost 6 friends and a family member. Some were close, some not so close. But no matter who it was it crushed me in some real and horrifying way. Whether it was my own pain in losing and missing that person or feeling the pain of my friends/family who had lost one of their own. I had a rough time grieving. As my friends moved through the stages of grief, I was jolted back to the beginning with yet another death.

But I learned a lot about myself, about my friends, about my family. Some good, some bad. And I gained so much understanding, knowledge, and my faith became stronger. I am grateful for the lessons I learned through that very difficult time in my life. I think it has made me a better friend to others and to myself. I am most grateful for that challenge teaching me to always believe and look for the good in all situations.
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Mindy@SingleMomSays July 21, 2010 at 11:29 am

This is a great reminder! It’s true that even through the MANY challenges and struggles I have faced there is always something to be grateful for.
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Jen July 21, 2010 at 11:55 am

I enjoyed this one, very much! nice job, Kelly

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The Blogs Rocket July 21, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Very nice article, thanks! I’ve subscribed to your RSS feed. Please keep up posting.

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SuzRocks July 21, 2010 at 12:46 pm

I think #4 is a big one- I feel like too many people are too proud to ask for help. The other day at the hospital, I was in the middle of putting a patient to sleep and the instructor I’m working with, asked me if I needed a particular thing- of course I say no. He then says to me, “You know, it’s not a sign of weakness to use it”. So I say ok- and take the help and things were MUCH easier.

For some reason, I always feel like asking for something is a sign of weakness- whether it’s for my husband to fly to MI to visit me for a 24 hour period, or something at work.
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momma sunshine July 21, 2010 at 1:27 pm

I went through a major depressive episode right before (and during) my breakup with my exhusband. I also lost an entire community of friends in the process. It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with, but it has made me a much stronger person, and I am completely grateful for it.
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T July 21, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Yes, definitely learning to ask for help. Also learning my own imperfections.

Thank you for the reminders.
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Angela July 21, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Thank you, Kelly. I’ve really needed this reminder lately! It’s so easy to get bogged down with all the negative things in life. It’s much more difficult (but incredibly more rewarding) to find the silver lining and to see things in a positive light. Your attitude of gratitude just may be infectious!!

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Adelle @ ready...GO!...get set July 21, 2010 at 6:18 pm

As a result of losing my mom I’ve had some extraordinary women step in to fill bits of the void she left behind. I’m grateful for all those mothers/sisters/mentors who have loved on me over the years!

I love this subject. Stop by for Gratitude Monday sometime!

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kellie July 21, 2010 at 7:32 pm

I am grateful for my gut. Once I hit my thirties I started paying attention and trusting it.

Thanks for sharing your list.

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Kelsiesma July 21, 2010 at 9:24 pm

I love this list, but am particularly fond of #6 and #7. Who’s perfect? My imperfections help to make me who I am and laughter keeps me young. Challenges suck, but they help us to learn and to grow. They also make the sweet moments feel sweeter.
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David July 21, 2010 at 9:37 pm

I am pretty much grateful…period. My dad survived cancer. My grandfather past away a year ago and left a legacy. My sister is going through a divorce where she made many bad financial decisions. My lovely chocolate lab, Guinness, is on his last leg battling K-9 cancer. He is my role model. He fights everyday and lives on. My wife is in nursing school and we rarely get to spend time with each other. We more or less cross paths. We have a rock solid love for each other. I call her my lighthouse. With out her, our family is sailing blind into the dark.

I am grateful for all the people who surround me and make me who I am. I am grateful and thanks for making me realize how grateful I am.

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the Gift.”
Steve Prefontaine

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Jenni July 21, 2010 at 11:10 pm

LOVE this post. And I love this statement: “Depression, fear, sadness, anger, disappointment, and distrust are all emotions that have wreaked havoc on me.” It’s SO true, but it’s also great when you work past them.

I am grateful for being able to rediscover who I am. And the confidence that has been built up over the last 13 months. If it wasn’t for my pending divorce, I would definitely not be who I am today.

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Fiona July 22, 2010 at 10:43 am

I stumbled upon your blog recently (I can’t remember from where) and I’ve been lurking and enjoying reading your posts.

I’m also separated, and the last few years have been THE most painful I have ever experienced … but they have also given me amazing personal growth.

I know myself and who I really am, I’m stronger and more capable and it’s been great to stand on my own two feet and take on the world. I kind of lost myself there for a while.

As hard and painful as separation has been, if I had a chance to go back and change it I wouldn’t, because in the process I’ve rediscovered myself!

Thanks for a great blog. Keep writing and sharing.

Fi :-)
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Kathryn July 24, 2010 at 10:55 am

Lovely post. I have no idea how it feels to experience a divorce, I can only imagine the challenges. Regardless of our situation everyone can benefit from your choice to concentrate on the positive, to be grateful. Every day I try to be grateful for my beautiful children and not concentrate on the challenges one of them faces. It’s made a big difference in my life. That and wine, wine has also helped. ;-)
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Cheryl July 24, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Gratitude lists are a constant need for me. Each day presents an opportunity to be grateful just for waking up on the green side of the grass. I love your list of 10. I do an alphabetical list before I fall asleep at night so I remember the special people and things of each day.
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Jessica Anne July 24, 2010 at 3:27 pm

You said it perfectly, “When struggling, it is easy to become consumed with negativity.” It’s hard to remember to be grateful and to look at the positives. Thanks for the reminder.

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Ash July 24, 2010 at 5:29 pm

I’m glad you laugh often – the best medicine really.

Four years ago, when my second son was born and then diagnosed with PKU, finding a silver lining was impossible. But more and more the clouds lifted. Now, I embrace every and any milestone that I might not have noticed while juggling two “typical” kiddos. I only hope that I can teach him how to embrace his unique being, and find his own silver lining.

Cross your fingers.
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Lindsey July 24, 2010 at 11:45 pm

I am struggling with a lot of issues related to my husband’s bipolar disorder. I am grateful that because of this struggle, I have learned that my happiness comes from within, not without.
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Missy July 25, 2010 at 4:31 pm

This is so lovely. I try every day to remember an attitude of gratitude. Can’t say I succeed every day, but I try!

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Pamela March 19, 2011 at 9:52 am

I am grateful for the perspective that the contrast between the unhappiness of my old life and the happiness in my new life gives me. In other words, it is because I had unhappy that I can truly feel and appreciate happy. I would not change one minute because it all led to where I am today, with this magical life that I thought I’d never have. That I didn’t find until I was 39 years old. I am so thankful.
Over from RDC :)

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Naked Girl in a Dress March 19, 2011 at 10:07 am

Pamela,

I was also 39 when we split. It is a wonderful time in my life and it also came from the sadness and challenges I faced. It helps you appreciate happiness more, but also to take control of your own good fortune. I am going after great things because I have this second chance. I feel like I am embracing life like someone who has battled a serious disease and survived; this is my second chance at life.

Thanks so much for visiting today!

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Joelyn Morgan March 19, 2011 at 9:02 pm

I am a single mom with a million and one problems and a million and one issues, but I am surviving – you can read more on my blog at http://joelynmorgan.blogspot.com

I look forward to reading more of your posts!
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