by Madelle MorganLast week my sister was driving along a winding two lane rural highway when she was stopped for speeding.
"I didn't see the sign, sir," she pleaded, suspicious there wasn't a visible sign for reduced speed on the approach to the tiny community - a crossroads with a district police station and a few other buildings.
One $50 ticket later she continued on her way, only to discover that a car accident had occurred minutes earlier. If it hadn't been for the delay, she'd potentially have been involved in that very accident.
My sister is grateful for that ticket.
The RTG theme for November is gratitude. Sometimes in the heat of the moment we are certainly not grateful for what life throws at us. We bemoan our terrible luck. We can't understand why bad things happen to good people. Down the road, however, like my sister we may change our minds.
A few years ago I was feeling guilty because we moved so often that my son did not put down roots in any community long enough to consider it a hometown. A wise woman asked me, "Where's the gift in that?" After thinking long and hard, I realized that the gift was freedom.
While others of his graduating high school class were loath to move away from home for work or education, my son attended university on the Atlantic coast and a post-grad program on the Pacific coast, having never visited those places before. Years later he lives in a different city from me, travels for work and play, and has friends throughout North America.
Now I'm grateful that emotional ties to a hometown did not clip my son's wings.
Life may not go exactly as you hope and pray for, but in retrospect occasionally you may identify a positive benefit, a gift that was life-changing. Here are some examples that may resonate with you:
"I was devastated when my boyfriend dumped me, but otherwise I'd never have met the love of my life."
"He wasn't the man I wanted, but it turned out that he was the one I needed."
"I'm a better, more compassionate person that I was before the tragedy."
"Because of my relative's illness, I went into the health care field to help others."
"Even though I was devastated when I didn't make the team, otherwise I never would've had time to develop my talent for ____"
"The hardship made me realize that I possess the inner strength to accomplish anything."
"I have a speeding ticket, but I'm alive."
In retrospect, what are you grateful for?