Part Two: Gratitude
It’s so easy to take things for granted, isn’t it? It can happen so slowly that we don’t even notice it. The simplest things, things that can bring the most joy, slip into the background and are so commonly passed over. A healthy body, a hug, someone to sit along side you, a sweetly scribbled post it note on the counter or a kiss on the forehead. When simple pleasures are replaced by the demands of the calendar or the items on the unending to do list, we lose something. We lose connection, we lose our grounding points, we lose our gratitude.
There’s nothing comparable to the aches that grief leaves you with. One of the aches? The ache of under appreciation. It doesn’t sting like regret but it can only be fully realized after loss. I wish I had appreciated things more completely when I could hold them in my hands and look him in the eyes. The thing is, I honestly thought I did. But how could you fully appreciate all the ways that mean so much until the ways that meant so much are gone? It often takes the absence of something to realize how many ways we over looked it in the first place.
Perhaps you’re feeling the ping of under appreciation now as you travel through grief and unknown circumstances. As routines are shuffled and our environments shrunk, we certainly feel the loss of what once was. The convenience of the bus taking my kids to and from school each day. Dinner and game nights with my extending family. The teachers who are vested in my children’s education and expanding their knowledge daily. The weekly meal shared with my small group from church as we shoulder each others burdens and join in their victories. The quiet coffee shop, the happy hour drinks and the camaraderie at the gym.
What is it for you? What gaps are exposing what you were under appreciating? How has gratitude grounded you in the midst of your grief? What new found appreciation have you found in things that fell to the background?
If you’re wired like me, the guilt of under appreciation sometimes feels like it could swallow you whole. But don’t let it. We can’t let it or we missed the lesson. The gift of gratitude is not meant to bring guilt. It’s meant to ground us.
Now, post loss? Now I hug a little tighter, I laugh a little harder and I love a lot deeper. I’m here for it, all of it. Grief opened my eyes and expanded my heart to a life full of gratitude. My sense of living has been renewed because I know how quickly things can be taken from us.
In this season let your gratitude take root and let your perspective shift. Grief brings weight. It helps you see what matters and what doesn’t. The line divides quickly with a peaceful ease. Let loss and grief teach us the weight of what’s most valuable.