Without them, we suffer for suffering’s sake.
With them, they give life meaning. Suffering has purpose and it’s ours to define. We become the author rather than the narrator. We search for the meaning hidden in the struggle.
They help us put gratitude into practice.
They give us pause to be mindful that we don’t have to accept the default script in our head. They give us agency to define what the moment means.
They have power to define reality.
Watching my father deteriorate to Alzheimer has been one of the most paradoxical experiences of my life. On one hand, it’s heart-wrenching to watch the person that shaped me most become a shell of himself and lose his light. And yet, it’s also provided an opportunity to strengthen my relationship with my mom and siblings. It’s been both the hardest experience of my life and an opportunity to cultivate gratitude in abundance.
Without the silver lining, we focus only on what we lack, all the while being blind to all we have.