Gratitude

6DB6D589-6BF0-4CD4-9BBE-FAA13762D8C0Traditionally, November is a time when many Americans pause to remember all of the things they are thankful for…family, friends, and pets top the list. But, sometimes things we thought we would never see as a blessing become those for which we are the most grateful.

In October of 2011 I was the victim of a violent attack which led to a chain of events that forever changed the path of my life. Following the attack, I  developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with all of the symptoms that make it challenging to live a normal life without treatment. From 2011 through 2016 I rode the highs and lows of a summer wind. Always, I was angry about how the life I had loved was taken from me because of the poor choices someone else had made.

2016 was undoubtedly the worst year of my life; one harrowing event followed another. Every time I tried to pick myself up, I fell before I reached my knees. The Japanese proverb, “Fall down seven times, get up eight” applied to me tenfold, and I was tired.

Sometimes we keep breathing because there’s nothing else we can do. So, I breathed. And, eventually, without even noticing, the foul air was cleansed and I felt the purity of a new beginning.

I landed in a place, in a life, I couldn’t have imagined even on my best days. Surviving the years of challenges cleared my eyes and my heart. I could see what was most important to me…love of family, true friendship, helping others, animals, nature, laughter…the simplest things.

Those challenges also led me to a new community. One that is safe and welcoming. One that has given me new friends and new places to explore. One that allows me to do all of the things I only dreamed of doing in my old life.

If that terrible day in October seven years ago had not happened, I wouldn’t be here. Would it have been easier to not be in the wrong place at the wrong time? Of course. But, without the attack, I would have continued on the same worn path and never reached the destination I yearned for in my quiet moments. Because of that, I am grateful.

No matter what you are going through try to remember it is leading you to where you are truly meant to be. You will get there, and some day you may even realize you are grateful for the challenges it brought.

Just keep breathing.

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