Thankful for Hard Things

give thanksphoto by Simon Maage on Unsplash

It’s the season of gratitude.

The Thanksgiving holiday is here and many of us naturally turn our thoughts to the things we are grateful for. There are the usual items that head the gratitude list: family, friends, health, home and, oh yes, the food.

Yet, there are other things I have found are important to be thankful for and frankly, some of them don’t seem so obvious.

Have you ever been thankful for a hard thing?

When we are facing difficulties and dealing with hard things it can sometimes yield good results.

How is this possible?

I think it is because in the struggle we grow. And when there are hardships and tragedies there are people who will help. I am very thankful for that.

A lot of people shy away from doing hard things. I sometimes do. Even when I see evidence that it helps me when I can face up to the hard things and meet the challenges. I find when I do I grow.

What are some other kinds of hard things I am referring to here? 

Things like eating well or exercising. Or doing chores. Discipline in pursuing goals can be hard.

Writing is often hard, although I feel compelled to do it.

Again, the result of “just do it” is that of personal growth and a feeling of accomplishment. Those are things to be grateful for.

Should we be grateful for the hard things in life?

I believe so, at least when we see how it helps us grow and become better people.

Out of tragedy and harm, naturally occurring or done by the hand of man, can come good. War is horrible and leaves us with loss and horror. Same for climatic events from natural causes, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and the like. When I witness those who come to the aid of the hurt I recognize that evil doesn’t always triumph. So I can be grateful for the Good Samaritans.

It is hard to face the truth sometimes. The truth of the times we have caused harm, whether directly or indirectly. But the truth can set us free. Hard times come, hard times go. So when compiling a list of hard things to be thankful for shouldn’t we recognize how we grow through the strife and struggle? Indeed, this Thanksgiving I will be grateful for the time spent with family and friends. Our gatherings may spark a few arguments, or it might bring about healing. Dealing with either is hard.

It is also hard to do family things when we are in pain from those no longer with us. Some have passed on. Some are lost in their cognitive decline. 

Let us be thankful for the hard things in life. We learn by trying and sometimes failing.

Mistakes help us grow.

So in this season of thanksgiving, do something hard that results in some good. It could be washing the dishes after the big feast. Or sitting with a family member and reminiscing about life. 

Here’s to being thankful for the hard things.