Gratitude for PAIN?  Seriously?!

Yes, I’m serious.

I’m going to guess that I’m safe in assuming you’ve had pain in your life. Maybe it’s from heartbreak or violence or a lost dream.  Perhaps it’s from deceit or betrayal or a choice you made but always regretted.  It might be from long ago or last month.

We all have pain happen in life.  As hard as it might be to believe, pain serves purpose.

If you were asked, “What was the most transforming time in your life?” it’s pretty darn likely you’d share a story of pain.  Our joyful times also shape us, but the painful ones… they transform us even more.

I began thinking differently about pain and gratitude a few years ago.  (can these two really go together?!?!)  I was tired of feeling down about many things in my life.  One big event that still brought me a lot of sadness was from when my newborn, Jonathan, died.  I honestly can’t remember what started me thinking about being grateful for this time in my life, but I did.  Even typing that feels odd… almost ‘bad’ – like I’m a bad mom for thinking this way.

Here’s how my thinking went…

Can I be grateful for Jonathan?
Of course.

But not for his death.

Could I be grateful for his life?
Yes, for sure.  I still wish it was much longer though.
So this is tough.

What about for parts of his life.  Little parts.  Moments…
Could I find gratitude for some of those?

Yes… that I can do.

Then I created this little list of gratitude for Jonathan’s short life:

  • For the moments (three to be exact) when he opened his eyes and looked into mine.
  • For when he held onto my pinky with his sweet, tiny hand.
  • For all the people who surrounded him with love and compassion.
  • For having hours more with him than was expected.
  • For how he taught me so much about myself, life, God, trust, and my strength.
  • For how he started me on my path to living an authentic life.

And that’s when something really wonderful happened.

I felt a little shift.  Some healing.  A bit more peace.  Acceptance sank more deeply into my heart.  And trust… I felt some trust for his life’s journey. Purpose in his short life.  Still missing him, wishing he was here in my life… but some healing.

What about you?
Think about something painful from your past.  I know that’s not fun, but let’s face it – it’s still there, right?  Maybe you don’t feel it or think about it often, but it comes up sometimes.  That’s because it’s not healed all the way.

As you let that memory be with you – just be open to the idea of gratitude. Just think a little bit about something good about that life event.

Remember – you don’t have to be grateful for the event itself… just something about it.

Find one little thing.
One reason.  Maybe two.
Your search might be tricky or long, it might even take you a day or more. But search.
Try to make a little bullet list of simple reasons you can be grateful for even just for parts of your experience.

Here are some tips:
Think about a way in which you grew or became a better person.
Consider something good that came out of your suffering.
Maybe the good came for someone else… not you.
Think about a possible reason why this happened – did it result in something else that was good?

Gratitude for pain doesn’t mean you’re grateful FOR THE PAIN.  It means you can find a bit of gratitude for a bit of the experience that caused you pain.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  What snippets of gratitude for pain did you find?  Do you feel better?  How?  Share a comment below… I promise, I’ll reply!

Much Love & Hope to you,

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