• Cynthia McCarthy

Gratitude for Bad Things

Updated: Sep 15

I had an ironic morning today.


I got my coffee and sat down to start my work day, but I couldn’t get online. No internet. That was weird. I restarted the laptop, disconnected the wifi, reconnected, spinning, spinning, saw some blinking lights. It said I was connected. Nothing. I still couldn’t get anywhere online. I turned off the wifi on the phone, got on the provider’s site, and that’s when I saw: “We are experiencing an outage in your area. We expect it to be resolved in approximately 9+ hours.”


NINE HOURS?

The horror! There was no way I could go all day without internet. I have work to do! I have customers! I have social media posts to make! Black Friday is coming! Lord, I was a raving lunatic for a couple minutes there… I was really raving when the local Starbucks manager confirmed that they also had no wifi service--they used the same provider I did. I suddenly felt like I was trapped in the 1980’s.


Then, I realized something. The first thing on my long to-do list for today (the thing I was all too-eager to skip over and ignore) was to write a Thanksgiving-themed blog about gratitude. Here’s the kicker and where the irony comes in: I had already planned to write specifically about having gratitude for the difficult, horrible, yucky moments we experience in our lives.


It’s pretty minor, but I have to applaud the Universe for demonstrating my blog topic so wonderfully. No internet access for an entire day is a difficult moment. I couldn’t do any of my other work—at least not the way I’m used to doing it. (Yes, I know I could have tried to figure out how to do things using my phone’s data service and some apps, but it turns out I’m kind of old and set in my ways.) I couldn’t create my social media posts. I couldn’t get my pile of new product photos up online. I couldn’t refund my new favorite customer who called to tell me she forgot to use her free shipping code and was charged in error by my website. I couldn’t do anything really but sit here and write this blog!


Oh wait, that’s what I was supposed to be doing today in the first place. So yes, even though in this day and age it’s a huge inconvenience that the internet was out, I’m actually grateful I had no internet all day.


Like I said though, this was a pretty minor example. Let’s think about some bigger examples.


Where in your life can you look back and see that some horrible thing you experienced is actually something for which you can be grateful?


For instance…

  • Maybe that terrifying health diagnosis, as scary and awful as it was, made you change your habits and take better care of your body.

  • Perhaps that abusive relationship you were in for years made you respect and value yourself, teaching you about the kind of loving, healthy relationship you deserve?

  • Maybe the boss that made you miserable at that job you really hated motivated you to follow your dream to go back to school.

  • Perhaps that time in your life when you could barely make ends meet made you more compassionate and giving toward those less fortunate than you.

I know for myself, I think about what I lovingly refer to as my “rock bottom” years, when I was a recently divorced single mom, lacking job skills, barely surviving financially, feeling utterly miserable. I wouldn’t want to go back to that time in my life for anything. BUT, I do know that if it weren’t for those awful things that went on, I don’t think I would have sought God’s help so much. That chaotic time in my life motivated me to become a spiritual seeker.

I was seeking a better life for myself. I needed spiritual practices. All those difficult moments actually motivated me to take practical steps to manifest my highest good. I needed those yucky experiences in order to learn how to co create with Spirit to make my life better. It turns out I got so interested in it, that now I teach other people how to do that too!


So, yes, I’m grateful for my “rock bottom” years.


What horrible experience in your past are you grateful for now? I sincerely hope you’re not in the throes of a horrible experience today, but if you are, remember you might look back someday with gratitude. Who knows what good will come of our difficulties?


Oh yeah, God knows.


Many blessings to you all at this Thanksgiving time.


Rev Cynthia