I have struggled with my pride throughout my entire life. I’m the last one to admit I’m wrong, the last one to apologize, and the last one to accept the hard truths. I crawl across the finish line. I drag my heavy feet, one sluggish foot in front of the other, just to say something aloud that feels uncomfortable. Thanksgiving is a real doozy, because not only do I not want to be thankful, I feel like I shouldn’t have to be.
How could I be thankful for my life? So far, life has been a turbulent journey, even before I became pregnant. It is all too easy for me to sit alone in my apartment, wallow in self-pity, and wish my life was different. And believe me, I actually do that sometimes. To sit and wonder what life would be like without negative consequences is blissful, but I know it’s an absurd waste of time. Skipping the pity party is hard enough, but to sit here and actually be thankful? I’m alright, thanks. Hard pass.
This isn’t even an exclusive challenge of being a birth mom; this is a challenge of being a broken person. We have a past that is uncomfortable. It’s often agonizing to grieve, and even worse to practice any kind of self-reflection. But to take it even further, to sit here and be thankful for that past, and give it credit for where I am today? Yeah no thanks, go kick rocks.
But I am thankful. I had to say it out loud this week, because it’s true. I’m thankful for the struggles that brought me here, but it’s a different kind of thankful. My thanks are filled with a little sorrow, a bit of shame, and a whole lot of optimism. I can be thankful and also be somber and bold. I can be sad and be thankful for the life of my birth son, and the second chance I was given. I can be thankful, but also confess that I am not ‘all better.’ I can be thankful for the sharp pains and heavy aches that thickened my skin. I wasn’t born with grit; I earned it. My teeth clenched tighter with every consequence I collected. There is a grace in thankfulness.
We don’t have to be thankful for our adoption. We don’t have to be thankful for being pregnant. We don’t have to be thankful for the relationship that put us there. I’m never going to sit here and tell people what they should be thankful for. How the hell would I know? But, no matter our stories, we do have things to be thankful for. Find that one thing you’re thankful for. Forward movement depends on it. Write it down, say it out loud, express it in one way or another.
I am thankful for where I am today.
I am thankful for my birth son’s life and his family.
I am thankful for my grit and determination.
I am thankful to now know who my true friends are.
I am thankful that God gives second, third, and infinite chances.