It’s easy to offer thanks for the blessings in our lives, but what about being thankful for the growth we experience through adversity? The unexpected twists, turns, and turmoil that flip our world upside down are not friends we greet with cheer. Yet, could those hardships actually present us with opportunities to be grateful?
Appreciating the Clouds
I used to commute an hour to work each morning. The best part of the drive was watching the sun rise. I began to realize how much more beautiful the sky was when clouds floated above. Varied hues of pink, magenta, and lilac painted a stunning kaleidoscope when the golden light of the morning sun rose in the east.
A cloudless day with bright blue skies is picture perfect, but there’s something about the richness of the colors when clouds are present that takes our breath.
I think of those clouds like I do our struggles. When the sun’s light is cast on clouds above, it highlights the colors and creates a brilliant display. The clouds play a significant part in the beautiful masterpiece.
And when clouds of adversity roll into our lives, the growth we experience from the struggle brings a depth and fullness that can only develop as a result of going through it.
Helen Keller said, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”
When life is easy, we have little reason to push ourselves or try harder. And therefore, we don’t grow as much. It’s working our way through a season of struggle that develops our character.
We cringe when adversity shows up. It’s not a challenge we welcome. But by stretching and moving forward when it’s hard, we learn a lot about ourselves and find we’re stronger than we thought. And we become a better person as a result of the adversity we navigate.
During those days when clouds hide the sky completely and rain pours in buckets, it’s impossible to see the sun shining. But the sun hasn’t gone anywhere. The light is there on the other side of the storm.
This Thanksgiving as we gather with family and friends to express thanks for our blessings, I ask you to consider something else. Think of the trials you’ve experienced that enriched your life and made you the strong, wise, and compassionate person you are now.
What difficult challenges have you traversed in your life that are you thankful for today?