Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thankful for the Struggles and Giveaway Winner

The giveaway winner for the WIN Sports Detergent has been drawn!  Congratulations!  Check the Rafflecopter here to see if it was you!  I will be emailing the winner to get your info (mailing address/etc) to send to the company.

About this time of year, everyone becomes a bit more mindful of the blessings in their lives.  As we are surrounded by family and friends, in warm houses with too much to eat, we are aware that many are not so lucky.  My Thanksgiving post is not going to be quite so typical, in that I'm not going to list out all the incredible, wonderful (and probably undeserved) blessings in my life.  Ok, I might do that too.  But today I want to talk about being thankful not only for the good things in life, but for the not-so-good things too; the things that sometimes feel like curses at times.  What I'm starting to realize is that the struggles make me who I am and without them I probably wouldn't be the person I am today. 

To start off, I want to say that I realize I am probably more fortunate than many others around the world.  I have the most loving family and friends.  I can feed, clothe and shelter myself.  I live in a nation that allows me freedoms that people in other nations only dream about.  I have luckily never personally experienced the traumas of oppression, war, disease or famine.  There are millions of people who cannot say the same, and yet, I'm sure complain less than I do.  So before I go any further I want to say I am grateful for all that I have and all that I am, even if I struggle with that gratefulness from time to time.

I think it is simply human nature to never be satisfied.  It certainly is reinforced in our American culture, and it takes a lot of self control and mindfulness to rise above the messages of consumerism we are fed every day.  Of course, I find myself envious of or craving material items others may have at times, but more often its the non-material things I find myself longing for.  The truth is, I don't think one kind of longing is 'better' than the other.  The key to happiness is to be able to be happy, exactly as you are.  It's a tough tough notion. 

There are many things I've struggled with in recent years, and continue to struggle with, and when times are hard I resent these struggles so so much.  I find myself envying others who I think have it 'easier' than I do.  Why haven't I found my life partner yet, I think?  Why am I still struggling to make ends meet?  Why can't I seem to find my path in life?  Why can't I run a 1:45 half marathon?! 

If things were always easy, do you think you would appreciate your circumstances and victories as much?  I really don't think so.  Perhaps my love/hate relationship with the struggle is what made me gravitate to running so long ago.  Running is not always easy.  It's just not.  It takes a lot of guts to stick with something day in and day out, when conditions are good and when they are terrible.  When you're having a great day and when you're feeling like crap.  To run in a snowstorm or in the middle of a heat wave.  But to quote Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own, "...the hard is what makes it great..".  If running was easy, I don't think my love affair with it would have lasted this long.

As much as I sometimes lament that my current situation is not all that I'd want it to be, when I look back and see all the hard work I put in to get here, I am so thankful.  I think about all the $hit I went through at my old job, but despite everything that was happening never compromised my ethics or values.  Sure, it's hard sometimes when I worry about paying the bills, but that struggle proved to me just how strong I am, and how I won't back down from doing what I believe is right.  Although it sure felt like it at the time, I didn't crumble under the pressure.  And now I'm doing work that's putting real goodness back into the world, even if just in a small way.  If I never got paid a cent, I would still show up to care for, nurture, and love these children with zero obligation to do so.  It's really a shame that this modern society we humans built runs on money, instead of good deeds :)

As much as I hate being single sometimes, I know that these years are undoubtedly making me stronger.  Having to do everything alone can be really hard and scary sometimes but I've proven that I can do it over and over.  Having no one to 'fall back on' or rely on really shows you who you are.  It's possible I may never find someone to share my life with and I have to make peace with that.  I mean, who knows, perhaps I was married 8 times in a previous life like Liz Taylor, so I don't get one this time around?!

Here's something to think about - Do you know what is formed after many years of intense pressure and heat?  Diamonds!  Am I saying that one day I'm going to be a diamond?!  Ha, I don't know.  I'm not even sure that makes sense.  But the point I'm trying to make is that the struggles, the pressure, the work, is what make the final product so stunning, and I am the final product.  Not my job, or my money, or my house or my spouse.  Just smiling, shining, little ol diamond in the rough me.

So, today and always I want to make an effort to be thankful for the good things and the hard things, because without both I don't think I'd be the person I am today.

And just in case my family and friends think they're getting the shaft amidst all this talk of my problems, you're definitely not!  I know you all have my back and love me just as I am, just as I do you.  So, here's a little Beatles shout out to you all:

And now I'm off to the little town of Bethlehem to celebrate the holiday and my grandmother's 90th birthday, so you won't hear from me until next week, which somehow will land us in the month of December?!  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

What are you thankful for?

Do you think your struggles are something to regret or be thankful for?

What are your Thanksgiving plans?


  1. I think that you already are a diamond, but maybe you are just getting your polish. This is a beautiful post, and one that I think should really resonate with many.So often people view contentment as a bad thing. But is it really so wrong to take a step off the path every now and then and watch the sun set, even if that means you won't get the same time? Like when I would incorporate races into longer run--sometimes, it is just part of a bigger goal.

    1. Oh Susie you are always so sweet! And so wise. Thanks for the thoughtful and kind words

  2. Great post! 2012 was undoubtedly one of the hardest years of my life but I tried to keep the very attitude that you've explained here because I truly believed that I could get through it and come out better because of it, and that's exactly what happened. I like to remind myself that even when things aren't perfect (as they never are), the challenges and obstacles are shaping me into the person I'm supposed to be. Have a great Thanksgiving!

    1. Hi Gloria. Thanks so much for stopping by. Yes, I always think that life is supposed to be easy but it really isn't easy for anyone. And when we fight for things, we appreciate them so much more!