Grateful- A Different Perspective

A Life Lessons Story by Chana Klein


Looking back on my life, I ask myself, to whom am I most grateful for the greatest lessons?

I do not get the answer I had expected, just as I did not have the life I had expected.

To whom do I feel the greatest gratitude for the greatest lessons?

The list is as follows:

I am most grateful to my mean mother

for leaving me no choice but to become an independent person,

forcing me to find my own resources to survive

and ultimately to find my closest confidante and rescuer, The Almighty.


Next, I would have to thank my hateful father,

who did not have words to speak with me,

only assaults upon me.

He forced me to learn to be present,

and at the same time to escape my body, so that I may learn to protect myself from further assaults.

He caused me to develop my intuition,

so that I may know who may be of harm.

I thank the people who attacked me,

for they caused me to develop an inner strength

that, had I not needed it to fight them off,

would never have been developed.


I thank the family that I had for the loneliness in which I dwelled,

which helped me to learn how to dream,

to devise ways to avoid boredom,

and to contemplate what might be possible,

thoughts that kept me sane.


I would thank each child I bore.

I thank each child for teaching me

that children are not the way I think they are supposed to be.

I thank the child who taught me to love,

not despite limitations but even because of them.

I thank the child who taught me

that he will not be the way I think he should be.

Rather, he will turn out his way,

which I, now, understand is even better than I could have done, had he followed what I had wanted.


And I thank the child who may not be the way I want that child to be today, and who taught me that I learn more from not getting my way than from having it.

I thank each of my children who taught me that life is not predictable,

that how people and events turn out is very different from what I could possibly imagine.

But the growth I get from that is also more than I could have aspired for without it.


I thank the people who made me fear them,

for it is through them that I learned not to fear.


I thank those who cheated me

for through them I learned to be smart in my business affairs.

I thank the high school teacher who believed my lie that I cannot do any more sit-ups

(for I was so bored with them).

She then gave the Phys-Ed-Student-of-The-Year award to the student who completed those sit-ups,

but who was not as able as I had been.

I thank her for the lesson that everything is important,

even doing as many sit-ups as one is capable of.


I thank the judge who overturned my winning verdict

and caused me to lose what I was awarded.

It was through her that I realized

that my happiness did not depend on what I was awarded,

or on what I already had.


I thank those on whom I depended for guidance and support

for not always being so dependable;

for it is through their not showing up for me

that I cultivated greater wisdom and inner-strength.


I thank each person who challenged me, my beliefs, my way of thinking,

for each has brought me closer to my true self.


I thank those who are part of my stories, those for whom there were no answers,

but who provided me with the opportunity to ask more questions.


I thank the Almighty for the infirmity I have been granted,

for that has led me to enhanced abilities and greater strengths,

Strengths that I could not have tapped into, had I not become ill,

Strengths that have led me to being of more and more service to people about whom I care.


No, I would not have expected to feel gratitude for any of these people and things.

Yet, contrary to what I would expect,

the times that I cried out, begging God for help

were really the times that He responded

with gifts even better than those I had requested.


Even though I know there will be more to endure,

and even though I wish it would be easier,

I am grateful that much of what I have suffered through

has turned into wonder,

and into so many life-lessons.


I have learned that my relationship with the Almighty

cannot not stop the loss, the pain, the shocks, even the horror.

But it does soothe the suffering.

It does give every event meaning

from which I may gain wisdom

and more appreciation.

Each experience before me,

has blessed me with greater understanding of how He works

and greater awareness that He does.


I see that I have been gifted with opportunities to find my own truth and to be a better version of myself.

It is through these things that in the end, I must feel most grateful.


May we be open to feel the blessings in the suffering.

May we not need such suffering to learn our life-lessons.

May we know the good that we experience as being good.

Copyright © Chana Klein 2010

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