A Childhood Lesson in Gratitude
It's never an easy thing to go through difficult situations in life never mind go through them with a perspective of trust that we will grow from having the experience. During these times it is so easy to fall back, give up or simply give in to the difficulty. Living with depression I can say first hand how easy it is to believe in the darkness more than the coming dawn.
A friend wrote today of how she was so upset at how children were being cruel to her nephew. This brought me back to thinking of my own childhood. I can not say I was a well liked child. I was the smart kid in glasses that the other children disliked. I couldn't relate to them nor did I have much of an interest in the things they were doing or playing. I can remember so vividly being picked on, called names, on occasion beat up and left to feel that there was something wrong with me because I wasn't just like them.
My parents told me the same things caring parents tell their children, "It's not you honey, it's them" or "They're just insecure about themselves." As a child these statements are hard to understand let alone believe. Aside from words of comfort and encouragement there is little else for my parents to have done. We didn't live in a world of anti-bullying laws like we do today. It was considered children being children.
As I grew into an adult I came to realize it wasn't me. It really was them and their own insecurities. Much to my surprise I came to feel for these individuals who sought to build themselves up by attempting to make others feel smaller. They are driven by such a sadness inside to act in such a way it made me hurt for them. Did it make their behavior and actions acceptable, in short, no. It does make them more understandable and easier to forgive. These people helped me to have a greater sense of self and a stronger sense of empathy, two characteristics I cherish highly.
In the end these experiences helped became a foundation of strength, understanding and compassion. When I think of these situation and the people who were the actors in them I am genuinely thankful for their help in making me the person I am today. These experiences helped me to come to trust that I will grow from the situations I encounter. Granted the growth does not always come easily, or even willingly sometimes. There are still times where there is a good tussle between the Divine and I over the necessity of going through a given situation. All in all I have come to trust I will come out better for it.
As the late Steve Jobs once said "You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect the dots looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future."