November 12, 2019

Gratitude in All Things

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I’ve found it’s easy to be grateful for the good things in our lives. The real beauty of gratitude is when we can also be thankful for the difficult things; this is where the full power of gratitude can change our lives.

We all have areas in our lives where we've struggled and had to overcome adversity; and in many situations we would have never “volunteered” to go through the trials that we did. So often as we look back at those challenging situations, we see that it was in those moments that we grew the most as a person.  

The great thing in life is that we get to assign the meaning to every situation and circumstance that we are involved in. We can either assign a meaning that strengthens us and makes us better, or a meaning that is negative and therefore weakens us; it is entirely up to us. I have tried to assign good meanings to everything that happens to me in my life, and there are sometimes challenges in finding “the good” in some situations. If I try hard enough and I ponder long enough, I can always find the “silver lining” in any situation.

My childhood is one of those situations. For many years I struggled to find a good meaning behind the situation I was born in. I will not go into all the details here, but if you would like to read about my situation you can go to and read my “Murder to Millions” story.  

The circumstances of my birth brought into my life at an early age many types of trials and tribulations; and were the source of a lot of anger and resentment for me. I felt cheated and angry because of my situation. Further fueling my resentment was the fact that I felt like I had nothing to do with bringing the trials into my life, they were all caused by the actions of others.  As I look back on those trying times, I realize that I am who I am because of the trying times. I was not always able to assign a positive meaning to my trials, but as time further removes me from what was; and my circumstances improve, I can see what I thought were ”flaws” and huge “imperfections” were actually the most prominent things to make me who I am today.

The Japanese have a technique called “Kintsugi”, which involves repairing broken objects using gold and silver. The thought behind this technique is that when something has suffered damage, the damage should be celebrated and not disguised.

Many times, we feel that if something is not perfect it has no worth. I absolutely felt this way about the circumstances of my childhood; so much so that I kept it to myself for years; only sharing it with my wife; never sharing it with extended family or close friends.

The art of Kintsugi teaches that if something has an imperfection, then it has history and experience which should not be hidden or disguised - but celebrated. Kintsugi draws attention to the imperfections by repairing them with gold. Often, an object that has become cracked or worn which has been repaired in the Kintsugi way ends up being even more beautiful after the repairs than it ever was before.

There are quite a few parallels between our own lives and the Kintsugi philosophy. The cracks and damage we go through in our lives should not be hidden away - they should be celebrated! Our imperfections and history have given us experiences and strength that we couldn’t have gotten anywhere else. As we take on this attitude of celebrating the trials and struggles that we’ve overcome, we may realize what the Japanese Kintsugi masters also realized, that not only can we overcome - we become more beautiful.

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