Thanksgiving has come and gone with Christmas fast approaching. Many referred to this as the season of giving, which is certainly a fine concept. I like using this holiday as a season to intentionally practice gratitude, a practice that we may embrace right now and then continue to develop a day at a time far into the New Year.
All of us, even in our darkest times, have at least something for which we are thankful. The fact that I am writing these words and you are reading them indicates that we are far more blessed than many in the world today. We are literate, safe, warm in the winter months, and have access to food, clean water and clothing.
When I first entered recovery, gratitude was extremely difficult to find. I would try so hard each day to dig up even one thing to appreciate in my life. On very challenging days, the only thing I could consider to be grateful for was I could breathe. And some days, even that did not feel like a blessing. That was a dark time, indeed.
Today, I can easily name two handfuls of wonderful things without even breaking a sweat! My life is rife with positive experiences, events and people. I had blessings in my darkest times as well, but I was blind to them. Like so many, I was robbed of my vision by the diseases that threatened to take my life, and the traumas that created them. I had not yet developed eyes attuned to seeing the light. Today not only do I have such vision, best of all, I get to help men and women who come to SunCloud to develop theirs. They are exactly where I was.
And there within lies one of the beautiful aspects of the power of gratitude; if given a chance, it leads to hope. By and large, we are thankful for certain things because there was a time when we didn’t have them. Years ago, I did not have my husband; I did not have my step-children or my son. My life was defined by addiction and misery. I could not have possibly imagined a future that was not only freedom from addiction, depression and ill health, but a life experience filled with abundance.
And neither can those who walk into our treatment program.
But all of us at SunCloud can imagine it for them. We can create and hold a positive vision of their future lives within our hearts. Essentially, we serve as holders and see-ers for our patients. We stand in a symbolic line of hope for them because they cannot stand for themselves.
We know one simple and powerful truth: if these hurting people engage with us and allow us to help them, their bodies will heal, their minds will unwind, their souls will flourish. Hope will ignite. They will take their rightful place in that line, a line that leads to a future of health, healing, joy and abundance.