It's Thanksgiving. The time of year when we pause to remember and mark all the things in our life we are thankful for.
I can count so many things this week as I pause to consider what I have to be thankful for. The blessings are way too numerous to count. But one of the things I'm thankful for this year?
I'm thankful for my divorce and the many gifts hidden inside that darkness.
I'm thankful for the friends and family that my divorce has actually brought me closer to.
Sometimes, a difficult situation can bring people together, and my divorce has definitely brought me closer to several friends and family members who reached out during the stress of my divorce. Some had been through a divorce and understood how cut off and alone I felt. Others just sensed that I needed someone.
I've reconnected with old friends and the bonds are even stronger because I've been so honest and raw about my train wreck of a life.
And I met new people. In real life and online.
I made friends who were in a similar place and bonded over shared concerns of kids, custody and navigating being newly single.
I made friends through my divorce blog, bonding over coffee with other bloggers and shared horror stories of divorce attorneys.
I'm thankful to divorce for teaching me I'm not a wimp.
I used to think that I was weak. I mistook my own kindness and empathy for other people as weakness. Only after soldiering on through divorce. Only after crying all night and wondering if I'd end up living out of the backseat of my Toyota Prius, did I understand the sheer force of my own determination. My own core of steel.
Wimp. No way. Far from it.
Thank you divorce for introducing me to that incredibly strong unshakeable woman who lives within me.
I'm thankful for the unexpected lessons.
I've learned so much since my divorce and so many of those lessons were things that I didn't even know I needed to learn.
I learned how to kill spiders in my daughter's bedroom.
I learned how to put an IKEA bookcase together.
I learned how to hang curtain rods with my very own drill. (I left way too many holes in the wall on my way to actually drilling the right hole, but the curtains got hung so I'm counting it as a victory.)
I learned how to enjoy sleeping in a bed all alone and not feeling lonely, only blessed.
Remember that haunting song, "Thank You" by Alanis Morissette? I've always loved that song but I'm not sure I truly understood the lyrics.
Now I can truly understand the thanks hidden in heartache and the honesty of her lyrics.
How 'bout me not blaming you for everything
How 'bout me enjoying the moment for once
How 'bout how good it feels to finally forgive you
How 'bout grieving it all one at a time
Thank you India, thank you terror
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you frailty, thank you consequence
Thank you, thank you, silence
I've learned during my divorce, that you can only see the lesson if you are brave enough to look through the sorrow and the sadness. You can only reach understanding if you are willing to wade through the pain.
Can you find a way to be thankful for your heartache?
Can you find a lesson somewhere in the end of your relationship?
Maybe this week especially, see if you can find the lessons to be thankful for that are hidden in your divorce.