This has been the word of the week around my town after a tornado tore through it this past Monday. Even though it was on the ground for only a few minutes, it left it’s calling card.
The townsfolk here are resilient though. People came together to help one another. With the buzzing of chainsaws in the air, people went to work removing the debris that had accumulated in the tornado’s aftermath, all the while giving thanks that their lives were spared. As I navigated through the debris, I encountered a woman who shared with me that a tree had crashed through her home, just missing her and her children. “My house can be replaced. My life and my children’s lives can’t,” she said, “so I am truly blessed.” We hugged and I wished her the best.
Power has yet to be restored in some areas of town, but people refuse to sit idle. They want to help, and they are doing what they can to help others. It’s a beautiful thing to see. And in every conversation that I hear or overhear, people are giving their thanks despite their losses.
This brings to mind Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote: “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
Yes, this means being grateful for even those things that may appear as obstacles in our lives. Being grateful for all things that happen means embracing not only the good but also the setbacks as part of our overall journey. Everything contributes to who we are and who we are to become.
Seeing our personal “tornadoes” as some kind of punishment is not going to get us through. That is a victim-mindset, something the folks here in town are not displaying, bless their hearts.
Instead, they are not letting this situation define them. They are not focusing on why this has happened to them; they are forging ahead with solutions. They are choosing to be positive. They have a sense of humor. They know that they are not alone. They are allowing others to help them, and they are helping others as well. They are making the best of it so they can move forward.
“Tornadoes” are going to occur from time to time. They may be emotional. They may be financial. They may be spiritual. Whatever the case, no matter how bad the situation may seem, gratitude will see us through and set us on a new path of discovery.