Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither were the miserable walls he built around his miserable life.
It took a very long time, actually. Years of being constantly worn down. His life constantly looted. Of all things good.
The remainder of the good just withered away. Or he drove it away.
Then it was all black. He began to see just the misery in the world. Instead of any joy. He started to see the ugliness in people. And not their beauty. He started seeing people’s failures. His own being the most prominent. And couldn’t see any earned success. He started to see people’s pain. And his own pain. His purview was almost completely void of pleasure.
He started to count his scars. And he started to dwell on them. Which is the worst of all curses for a human being.
He saw only darkness.
He became jaded and cynical and angry.
Scarred. In the worst of ways. All across his mind. Right through his black heart. And he wore them shamefully all over his face.
And then there he was. The worst possible result of who he could be.
But then one day, he gave thanks. For just being able to breathe. He was thankful for being alive.
To say that woke him up, doesn’t really do it justice. It was like he was stuck by a bolt lightening. One that energized him in a such a way.
He began to realize just how much he had for which to be thankful.
He gave thanks for his family. For his friends. For his job. For his talents. For the infinite possibilities in front of him. For his opportunities to give back and help those in need. For smiles. And laughter. And joy. For the smallest of things in life. He would of course give thanks for the giant Thanksgiving meal. But he would even give thanks for just the bowl of cereal he had that morning.
Eventually, he was able to give thanks for his scars. He kept them on his mind. Erased them from his heart. And wore them proudly across his chest.
He went outside one day in the rain. The worst of rainstorms. And actually felt the water. He felt what it was like to have rain hit his face. He could feel again. Like a tingling all over his whole body. He was ever so thankful for that.
He realized that his misery had nothing to do with his career, or health, or financial well-being, or any people in his life. That this was his clear and conscious choice. To be miserable. It was the choice he was making.
He realized that if he was thankful first. That happiness followed quickly in its path.
He gave thanks for all of it. Even his time in darkness. He gave thanks for having put himself there. And he gave thanks for bringing himself out of it.
As Albert Einstein once said, ‘There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.’
I prefer the latter. And I am thankful for every single miracle.
Happy Thanksgiving 2019.