During this time of the thanksgiving season, we are reminded to give thanks for all our blessings. I want to remind us to also give thanks for our mistakes, bad decisions, horrible events and miserable circumstances. These have formed us as much as our dreams, ideas, ambitions and hope. I know that’s hard to believe, and yet without our mistakes or tragic events we would not be where we are. 

Divorce is a horrible thing. It has ruined many a family and impacted men, women and children all over the globe. Yet I am thankful for divorce in that it gave me my step daughter. If there had not been divorce, I would not know her or be blessed to call her family and friend. From a horrible event came a great blessing. It would not have been the thing I would have asked anyone to expereince, and yet without it I would not be blessed with Ashley in my life. 

The challenge isn’t to only be thankful or the good. We have to be thankful for the bad, the difficult, the wanted, unwanted and unexpected things that happen to us. We cannot control most of what happens in life, so giving thanks for the surprising circumstances of life is important. Our character and our joy are tested by life on a daily basis. Who we are is as much a result of bad things as it is of good things. If we only give thankful for the blessings, does that makes us ungrateful for the results of the bad things? 

Looking back at our past forces us to see the trajectory of our decisions. Looking back forces us to face the results of poor decisions, changes in goals and dreams, as well as the byproducts of things we wished had not happened…and yet without those circumstances we would not be where we are now. We would not have learned the lessons we needed to learn, or suffered the thought provoking moments if we only lived in the good. So I am thankful for all the horrible, not good, terrible days and events of life. By embracing the good and the bad we embrace our whole selves, become real people, and our character proves us worthy of our current blessings. 

In this time of thanks remember the lessons of the bad mistakes and horrible days. They are the lessons that lead us to greatness. I give thanks for the unknown and unforeseen events of life…as well as the blessings of today. It it both sides of life that make it all real.