Here we are in November. In the United States, we celebrate Thanksgiving during this month. Tradition allows for many opportunities to express our thankfulness for the various blessings in our lives. We are thankful for our food. We are thankful for a roof over our heads. We are thankful for friends and family with which to share these many blessings.
It all sounds so very wonderful, does it not? What I wonder is about those that may not feel that there is much for which to be thankful. I wonder about someone whose life has taken some rough turns and is trying to find reason to take just one more breath.
There are times in most people’s lives when no matter how hard we try, things just do not seem to go well for us. Our love life dies. Our employment ends. Even our view of things that once brought joy are now of no interest. Many of us would ask, “why?” Why is life so hard? Why does it seem that every time we make progress, something comes along and shoves us right back to where we started?
There are no pat answers. However, I would like to explore one possibility, if you would allow me the time to ponder it with you. I am of the opinion that everything in our lives happens for some purpose. Even the terrible things that wreak havoc in our lives have some reason for being. I am not saying that everything is necessary, just that something will come out of any given situation for the better.
Some of you may be ready to slap me. How can anyone say that some of the horrific events that take place can be of any good to anyone? I will say that some things are so awful that even I cannot see what good is derived from them. Yet, if I work from experience, I can say that most clouds do have their “silver lining” if you are willing to look for it.
I was raised by two parents who were, shall we say, just a little “off”. I lived a life that some might compare to the Monday-night movie. I know what it is like to be abused. I know what it is like to feel alone. I know what it is like to despair to the point of wishing that my existence would end, just to be rid of the pain. And, yet, here I am, writing this article and claiming that there is a reason for the suffering; a reason for the pain.
Life is made up of a series of events. Looking at them individually, they make little if any sense. But, when you have managed to put a few years under your belt and are able to look back at the situations and circumstances, you may find that you are able to recognize some kind of pattern. The pieces begin to fit together. A direction becomes more clear. They say that “hindsight is 20/20.” Perhaps it really is more like an x-ray. Not only can we see more clearly, but we can also start to see the inner workings of the events that have shaped our lives.
I am not going to tell you that it is easy. I am going to tell you that if you can hang on long enough, and are willing to face the truth about yourself, you may find that there is a very good reason for what has transpired in your life.
Have you ever had someone do something kind for you? Can you remember just one moment, when someone gave you a smile or opened a door for you? Even in our darkest moments, somewhere there was someone who did something kind. We may not be able to see it through the veils of pain we don, but if we can clear our hearts and minds, there is someone somewhere who touched our lives for the better. That is where I want to walk this month. I want to walk in the path of the person who brings such kindnesses to others. I want to offer up to you the possibility that you may be that person who will touch the life of another. You may be that one for which someone else is thankful.
Where would your life have gone had you not known those small moments of benevolence? It is often some the smallest things that make the largest differences. What would have happened had we not known the touch of another in our lives?
I pulled a card to accompany our discussion this month. It is the Eight of Cups. On this card are eight cups, neatly stacked. Behind them, a person begins a journey to the mountains, away from these cups.
Every now and then, someone comes into another’s life and he or she sets in order some cup of kindness, and then he or she is gone. So often, those cups are what sustain us through the droughts of our souls. We are all, at one time or another, called to offer such cups to other people in our lives. We each are given the opportunities to be kind to another; to provide them something for which to be grateful.
How does that feel? To think that you are the one who may make a difference in the life of someone else? If you were not here, someone would miss that opportunity. If you did not give of yourself, in the smallest of ways, someone might die a lonely death, never knowing that there was something more to their life, other then despair.
It sounds like a huge responsibility. Actually, it is simply a way of living. The person on the Eight of Cups is not lingering where the cups stay. He is off on another leg of his journey, following his own path. This was simply one stop along the way. It did not take him off his path, nor did it deter him from his destiny. It was all part of the journey. The mountains in the background have a mist in their valleys. Surely, he will not always be able to see his way forward. There will be times when he may become lost on his way, but that does not negate his touch in the lives of those he has met along the path. In fact, it provides the opportunity for others to touch his life.
You may not even realize that you have had an affect on the life of another. You may simply go about your business, day-to-day, without so much as a thought to the possibility that someone else maybe thankful for you passing through their life. I am sure there are many people who would say such things about any one of us.
You are the one who may make a difference in the life of another. You may be the light that shines just long enough to show the way to a lost soul. Without ever knowing it, that one kind smile on the bus, may shed some hope to the hopeless.
They say that our lives are like ripples in the water. Everything we do creates an affect on someone else. While we may not receive a “thank you” or recognition for what we have done, it is still a fact that we have touched another human being in the course of our journey. We may think that we have had no affect on anyone, but our ripple speaks otherwise.
During this season of thankfulness, remember that somewhere, there is someone who is thankful for you. You have touched a heart on this earth. You have made it possible for another soul to continue their journey. As is often the way, it is because of the pain that you have felt that you are able to make such a difference for that other person.
If you did not know pain, you could not bring comfort. If you did not know sorrow, you could not bring joy. If it were not for the fact that you know what it feels like to be so lost, you could not point the way for someone else.
All of your life has been in preparation for this day. All of your experiences have made you the person that someone else needs. Somewhere, without you knowing, someone is thankful that you have touched his or her life. Allow yourself to bask in this knowledge. You are the person for which someone is grateful. If you had given up, that person might have been left without your touch. If you had not continued on your journey, that someone could have also given up and then they would not be able to reach out to those who would need their kindness.
We are all connected in some form or fashion. We are all someone who will make a difference to another human being. We are all someone for whom another is thankful.
The above article was originally featured in The Meta Arts (http://www.themetaarts.com) and is reprinted here with the author's permission.