Being thankful for the bad things

It’s November and people have filled my Facebook timeline with a daily dose of thankfulness.  I like it but haven’t participated.  Why?  I don’t know. I guess I didn’t want to bore people.  It’s not that I’m don’t appreciate the good stuff. I do. Very much so.  I just thought it would interesting to take a different look at this thankfulness trend.  You see, it’s easy to be thankful for the good things in your life.  What’s more difficult is to cherish the really crappy ones.

No, I haven’t lost my mind.

Let me give you example:  I’m very thankful I couldn’t find my dream job after college and ended up  as a nighttime custodian at Pope High School. That seemed like a horrible thing when it happened. But it was a job where I learned to appreciate hard work. How to use my talent. And it gave me the gift of cherishing all my jobs after it.  I also met great friends at Pope. One of those friends is Maggie Hurley.  She set me up with her daughter —  who is now my wife and mother of my three children.

I’m really thankful I had cancer.  No, I don’t want it again —  but it taught me to appreciate the sunrise and live in the moment.  It allowed me to be able to become an advocate for melanoma awareness. And it gave me some really cool scars.

I’m thankful for the Great Recession and a changing career.  The fear of losing my house busted me out of my comfort zone and taught me that I can do anything I put my mind to.  Having a door slam in my face caused me to look around for bigger and better doors.  I’ve found them and am hustling through them. My survival instinct is now firing on all cylinders.

I’m thankful for people who don’t believe in me. The motivation to prove them wrong is powerful and continues to propel me forward. It also has taught me whose opinion to value and who I should ignore.  I ignore many people now who would have driven me crazy three years ago.

I’m thankful for all the times I have failed. Apparently, I’m a better learner when I fall on my face. I think about when I was about to fail Accounting II in college.  I busted my butt and ended up passing the class.

I’m thankful for when I’m wronged. It has taught me the art of forgiveness and taught me valuable life lessons I couldn’t learn any other way.

I’m thankful for the bad moments in my marriage. They make me appreciate the good ones that much more.  The lessons I have learned have made me a better husband and father.

The one I struggle with is the loss of my brother-in-law Adam. I can’t be thankful for his death.  But I what I am thankful for is that my sister had him in her life. And I’m thankful for the example he set for me and my boys. His courage battling ALS will inspire me until the day I die.

So that’s it.  The bad moments have given me the opportunity to learn and grow.  And for that, I’m truly thankful.

What bad thing are you most thankful for?

About Marshall Ramsey