For years, I struggled to let go of past hurts. Somewhere along the line they all got backed up in the deep of me and I shouldered them right into all my tomorrows like a packhorse. I was a collector of hurts, a really good one.
I tried to let go, but what I thought I had laid down and worked through, kept spinning right back. I had boomerang struggles and every day was not a new life as this post is titled, but a re-play of the same life.
The problem with living this way is that all the windows of your life start to have the greasy film of yesterday on them. And if every time you look out your window you see the same thing, soon you no longer want to look out at all.
I longed to be free and to open my eye wide to the day I was in. To feel the wild rush of the wind of my life blowing full in my face. To engage in the feast before me and store away fine pieces in the memory of my heart. But this was exactly what I struggled to do.
You see, when you carry something heavy it bleeds the spirit, slumps the shoulder, and dims the eye dull. The life before you becomes overcast with shadow. And as hard as you try to smile, the corners of your mouth are always weighted.
“You will find that it is necessary to let things go, simply for the reason that they are HEAVY.” ~Unknown
I read stories of other people who had let go of hurts, but I couldn’t seem to do it myself. I always found myself picking up what I had just laid down and carrying it again, most times without even realizing it.
I was feeling desperate to be rid of my heavy load. But how?
Then I stumbled upon something that opened my eye to the sight of freedom and started lifting the weight from my heart. I found it in a book.
The pretty author on the back cover fold had shining eyes and a hauntingly painful past. “How in the world,” I wondered “did those shining orbs of eyes learn to conquer that which pulls the rest of us down deep? Too deep.”
She stated the answer in one word, Gratitude. Gratitude.
“I look for the ugly beautiful, count it as grace, transfigure the mess into joy with thanks.” -Ann Voskamp
I have walked gratitude’s road to remind my mind of what has been given at the end of each day. It greatly enriched my life. But girl with shining eyes, her approach was more radical than gratitude only for the pleasant and easy. Here she explains how everything is grace. Gratitude for ALL. All encompassing gratitude changes the eyesight she said.
All at once I knew that if I constantly fight against what is given, I will never see the other side of the struggle. I will always be clenched fist and bleeding heart. I will always pound with questions to which there may never be answers. From that moment I settled within my heart to try gratitude’s approach.
I wanted to gain the shining orb eyes for myself. To be free of the heavy. So I gulped and I folded my body and my past hurts into a thank you that breathed over years of pain in an instant and spread wide over me.
As if it had been there all along, my mind’s eye saw and landed on another sphere and suddenly I saw purpose amid the hurt. I saw how pain changed me, formed me, pushed me. I saw blessing where I previously had only seen pain. I saw color where there had only been shadow.
Over the next weeks and months, I tried gratitude on in unexpected spaces and unexpected freedom resulted. The bloom of trust blossomed in the place of fear.
You see, if we can trust that there is blessing even in the midst of hurts, we can leave the hurts behind and look to see the blessing.
Gratitude builds trust, clears the eye, and lifts the chin to see the treasure.
What a gift. I give thanks for what was given, my eyes are opened to new gifts. Every day truly becomes a new life!
Photo Credit: Ivan McClellan Photography via Compfight cc