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Gratitude Despite the Circumstance

Updated on May 1, 2012
Iyanla, Deepak, Tony, TD Jakes & Oprah
Iyanla, Deepak, Tony, TD Jakes & Oprah | Source

Can I Be Grateful In War?

Tonight I watched Oprah's Lifeclass where Oprah, Tony Robbins, Iyanla, Deepak, TD Jakes taught us to master the art of gratitude. The class was very insightful as usual and there were several "light bulb moments". I especially liked Tony Robbins' activity to open up our hearts to remember events in our lives to be grateful about. This exercise was very effective.

After the class, I reflected on gratitude and while I am blessed and I do have many reasons to be grateful, I started thinking about people who live in war torn areas of the world; places in Africa like, Rwanda, Somalia, Congo and Sudan; Afghanistan; Syria; Kosovo-Serbia. For a moment I tried to channel their pain and angst. I would like to ask each of Oprah's Life Master: how people facing the devastating realities of war can be grateful? Here are some of the questions that those feeling the effects of war and chaos might ask:

How do I stay in a state of thankfulness when everything is in turmoil and chaos?

How do I remain grateful when those responsible for my pain go unpunished?

How do I counteract the thieves of peace and security to obviate the desire in my pain to wallow?

How can I be grateful when all I feel is self pity and hate’s downward spiralling and churning?

How can I be grateful when all I feel is anger and pain?

How can I be grateful when my heart was trampled on, is bruised and bleeding?

How can I feel grateful when there is no money in my pocket; no food in my stomach; a stone for my pillow?

How can I be grateful when endless wars rage around me?

How can I be grateful when children die from scarcity, diseases and militarization?

When women and children are raped and tortured and men are maimed for life?

How I can be grateful when all I see is death and pain and hate?

How can I be grateful when it appears that God forgets me; forgets my people?

Does God care that we are in so much pain and angst?

How can I be grateful when bombs and grenades explode all around?

When the guns are at my head and at my back, how can I be thankful?

How can I be grateful when all I see are broken spirits and broken bodies?

How can I be grateful when the enemies and the villains are the winners?

How can I be grateful when my parents and siblings are killed right in front of me?

How can I be grateful when I've lost my limbs; now a burden to others?

How can I be grateful when pain and suffering is ubiquitous?

How can I be grateful in this god-forsaken place; a constant reminder of my exile?

How can I be grateful when I do not know if this is the last breath I will take?

How can I be grateful when there is so much hatred?

As I lay here in my urine and blood, my gut wide open from the land mine that blew up my crew

How can I be grateful that my colleagues are all dead?

Do I have the proclivity to see the glass half empty? Is there a reason for optimism?


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      Alexandr 4 years ago

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      BekaS1974 4 years ago

    • Steve Orion profile image

      Steve Orion 5 years ago from Tampa, Florida

      Well, I went to school one day, knowing I could not go back home, and sought the assistance of my guidance counselor, who, to my surprise, was rather new and inexperienced. Suffice it to say she could not get me into some shelter or anything on one day's notice. She advised I stay one more night at home and come back the next day, but I decided against it.

      So I had to sleep on the street and hope that the next day could bring better things. It was actually rather eye-opening, as the burger I bought for dinner that night was one of the best tasting things I've had all my life! I was hopeful, yes, because I thought, in this day and age, it would be preposterous for a school to allow a student, much less and AP one, to be homeless. So my mental state was one of acknowledging a significant shift in the path of my life and surviving until that shift could progress.

      I did walk to a semi-close Wal-Mart to buy a sleeping bag so I could sleep near my school. I soon met a social worker who introduced me to a program that could help me with residence and such, so my situation worked out after that unfortunate time. Having gone through that doesn't make me immune to being agitated of frustrated with other things in life, though I should aspire to be, but it does make me a more grateful person, overall.

    • DynamicS profile image

      Sandria Green-Stewart 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Steve, thank you for your visit and sharing your perspectives. I agree with you that its about perception - how one thinks about his/her circumstance is relative.

      My grandmother use to say "where there is life, there is hope" I suppose that means that once you're breathing, you should have faith that your circumstance can get better. Therefore someone who takes his/her life must have believed that there was not option left to them - they were hopeless. Can one be grateful in this moment?

      Steve, it would be interesting to know what kept you going while you were on the streets. Were you hopeful that your circumstance would change? Were you taking steps to change your circumstance? What was your mental state?

      Being grateful is sound common sense advice, but what about the cases when gratitiude is just not a reality... what then?

    • Steve Orion profile image

      Steve Orion 5 years ago from Tampa, Florida

      It certainly is all about perception. The most fortunate and well-off people may feel the worse, while others who have much less and must prevail over greater strife are more grateful. I had to spend a short amount of time living on the street while in high school. I complained bitterly to myself at that time, yet knew that there were people who lived in war and poverty-stricken environments and that they still manage life.

      It's all perception. So how do people who can ask those sort of questions feel gratitude? I have no idea. I would say that there is a point where you couldn't find anything to be grateful for. If life inherently "worth" living? People who commit suicide often think not. An interesting concept, to be sure. Hub voted up and I look forward to reading more! =)

    • DynamicS profile image

      Sandria Green-Stewart 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Indeed Ruby, these are challenging questions to answer. I will explore some answers in a later post but for now reflection is what I do. I'm still thinking about those whose lives are torn by suffering and pain; those who are helpless and hopeless. How can they see beyond the doom and gloom and believe that there is hope and that things can change for the better. How can the resilience of the human spirit be manifested even in dire circumstances.

      Thanks for your visit and your comment.


    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 5 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      Yes, great questions need great answers. Where do we go from here? Keep sharing, keep hubbing, some great topics to find answers to.