A Humbling Lesson in Gratitude

I had a most humbling and emotional lesson in gratitude a few days ago. The past few weeks I’ve been impatient and feeling frustrated and discouraged about some of the things that are happening (or not happening) in my life. I’ve tried to be grateful for what I have, but frankly feelings of gratitude have escaped me and I’ve been feeling more like “why me?” than “wow I am so fortunate.”

Tuesday evening after finishing my work day, I drove to my chiropractor’s office for my weekly appointment and then stopped at the grocery store to buy chicken broth so I could make myself a simple but healthy meal of quinoa, chicken and salad.

As I entered the parking lot of the grocery store, a young man holding a sign that said: “Kindness requested, we need money for food and gas. God Bless.” caught my eye. More so, the hopeless look on the face of the young man and his wife as they tried to let their small young girls play but somehow keep them safe in the parking lot gripped my heart.

The license plate on the well traveled green Odyssey van was from Texas.

I couldn’t shake the image of this young family while I was shopping. My guess is that they were in pursuit of a better life for their family and met with adversity along the way.

While checking out, I hit the “yes I want cash back” button.

$20 isn’t going to get them far, but maybe it will help a little. They were both so grateful. I only wished that I’d been able to help them more.

Tears rolled down my cheeks as I drove past them and they waved and smiled with gratitude.

Yes, I am humbled and I am grateful for all of my blessings. I’m going to try not to forget them going forward.

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Author’s note:

This experience affected me deeply and has served as a reminder of many things like the power of forgiveness and also that there is no shame in asking for or accepting a helping hand. It’s also prompted a lot of reflection about life and how difficult it can be to remember that we each have a purpose in life and that the difficulties we experience can serve us in a positive if we choose to let them.

It’s sometimes – ok, well often-times hard to figure out what that purpose is, but I really believe that we do each contribute to the greater good in our own unique way.

Sometimes along life’s path we encounter relationships or experiences that don’t just hurt, they consume us with feelings of injustice, unfairness, rejection and isolation.

We have a choice about these experiences, one that we may not often consider. And that is to find a way to turn the things in our lives that are the most damaging and the most hurtful into our greatest teachers.

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