It is Thanksgiving night, bellies are full, the game is on, it’s cold outside (even in Las Vegas), and while contemplating all the things for which I’m truly thankful, I made a powerful discovery.
Of course the obvious choices for gratitude come to mind – family, friends, life, health, food, shelter, my church, my career, God’s love. However, as I dug in and thought about my personal growth as a man, as a husband and father, and as a person, and as a Christ-Follower a time-tested truth unfolded before me and effected me deeply. Here’s the list I made.
I realized I am genuinely, profoundly thankful…
* For my Father’s abusiveness growing up, as I am stronger, more thoughtful, and a better, father for it. (In later ye
ars we completely healed).
* For being betrayed by a close friend and business partner, as I learned the importance of real friendship, personhood, holding to your values, and the value of a dollar.
* For the forgiveness that God, my wife and others have chosen to show me when I deserve anything but.
* For the challenges marriage and relationships have brought, as they have deeply increased my capacity
to love and forgive. (22 years later we’re happily married).
* For 30 years ago sinking to the point of considering suicide, because instead I decided to give God a try; the single greatest event in my life.
* For my music publishing deal with Sony/Tree Nashville not leading to the record deal we all expected. I have an amazing career which at 54 is still growing. How many recording artists can say that? Had I gotten the record deal and, God forbid hit songs I could never have created what I have now.
The list goes on. It turns out, the things I like most about life came from the events and experiences I liked least.
It is not an imperative to see the good in the bad
, it’s just a choice. But I consider it one of the foundational Life Virtuoso Choices.
However, the discovery to which I’m referring is even better than that:
Gratitude makes you invincible.
Think about it… If we are genuinely thankful for everything, what can hurt us? We are invincible.
Now, I am a pragmatist. Given that some things can kill you, the idea that even fatal things benefit us implies belief in some kind of an afterlife. This is one reason I believe there is life after life, a larger plan, and that we are being perfected. Again, that’s a choice. But in my opinion it sure beats the alternative.
Life Virtuosos have gratitude for exactly everything, as if life is conspiring for their success. The degree to which you choose gratitude is the degree to which you are invincible.
Thank you Mike …
For your transparent and authentic example and reminder that there can be gratitude in all of what life brings, whether done to us or through our choices. The rear view mirror can be very revealing, as in that we see the path more clearly that brings us to this place. You remind me to have gratitude for the struggles and betrayals, for all relationships and experiences regardless of how they worked out, they are all somehow used for the good by God that loves us deeply. Sometimes divine providence can sound like rationalizing, yet your choice to fill your heart with forgiveness, gratefulness and purpose as a response is inspirational and true reminder of how to live more fulfilled in the moment. Blessings! John