When I think about gratitude in terms of ways I have been wronged and then trying to find the lesson in it, I think mostly about the times that I have wronged others, I think about how grateful I am for that person forgiving me (or not, depending on the situation), and how I can find the lesson in that situation, not the other way around.

Of course, there are also lessons to be learned about both yourself and others in times when you feel you have been hurt, but I find it takes more courage to look at the places where you have hurt others, and how you can strive to be better the next time around.

There are many people in my life that I have loved and cared about who I have also hurt in some way, large or small. Some of them have forgiven me, others have not, and for others, there is an on-going dynamic between the two.

In each of those situations, I have tried to learn the lesson I needed to learn, to see how I caused hurt, and how my actions can be changed to avoid such hurt in the future. I haven’t always learned my lessons, some I can’t yet see, but I know that I am at least trying to see and learn them, and for these interactions, these people, I am eternally grateful.

The other aspect of my on-going gratitude for people in my life is for those that I can never and will never know in person.

There are more people in this world than I can even think of, let alone name, that I am grateful for existing.

One of my favorite prayers to say (and in truth the only one I probably say with any amount of regularity) is one I try to say before each meal (again, I probably do this maybe three meals in an entire week…I’m not perfect), it makes me feel more at peace with myself and the world when I do.

A Prayer Before Meals

“I want to thank the life of this food for giving its life to my life.

I thank the animals for giving their life to mine.

I thank the plants for giving their life to mine.

I thank the Earth Goddess for lending her support and nutrients so that all things may grow.

I thank the Sun God for shining down on all things so that they may grow.

I thank the Wind Spirits for bringing in the wind so that all things may grow.

I thank the Rain Spirits for bringing in the rain so that all things may grow.

And I thank the lives of all of the people in between me and this food who made it possible for it to be here for me today.”

The last line, the one about all of the people, is the line that makes me feel the most connected to the truth of how our world works.

There are an infinite number of people that I will never meet, whose lives will influence and affect mine, and all of this will happen in ways that I can’t even begin to comprehend.

We are all a tiny but interconnected piece of a giant web of life, and each time one piece moves, all of the others are affected, whether we feel it or not, and for all of the good things in my life, there were a million people who came before me who made some small piece of that happen, and for all of them I am forever grateful.

Sarah Josey

July 13th, 2017

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