Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

To Be Thankful For

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I am thankful for so much.

For my wife.
For my children. All six of them. Even the ones that yell when they don’t get what they want. Which is all of them at some point or another.
For the son I hope to meet very soon.
For my extended family, including a brand new nephew.
For having enough. Enough food. Enough clothing. Enough to not work all the time, but have the luxury to enjoy.
For my friends. I can only imagine how hard it is for them to love me.

If only my list could stop there. If only life was full of the good things.

But life is also full of darkness. Life is full of “gifts” I don’t want.

The tiredness I feel at the end of each day.
The struggle it is to keep going. For the struggle it is to adopt again.
The death of my father when I was twenty-one.
The cancer removed from my son’s body.

photo by i k o

photo by i k o

In this short, but poignant poem titled The Uses of Sorrow (affiliate link), Pulitzer prize-winning poet Mary Oliver had this to say about the hard things in life.

The Uses of Sorrow
(In my sleep I dreamed this poem.)

Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.

I Do not Want This Gift

When I first wrote this article, I started to say that all things are a gift. Perhaps to some degree that is true. Maybe one day we can see that, but I can’t see it. Not in this life. Not right now.

But I can see some of the good that comes from the boxes of darkness I have received. I can see the good that comes from the work that brings fatigue. And even though the work is hard, I can imagine what my adopted children’s lives would be like if they were still orphans. I miss my Dad terribly, but I still remember things he taught me. And unlike my adopted children, I did know him for twenty-one years.

I have no idea how my son’s cancer diagnosis can be good. Cancer is always, always bad. It is un-welcomed. I don’t want it. If I could somehow avoid cancer, I would, even if it is a “gift.”

But it comes nevertheless.

And I do know that it would have come to him regardless of whether or not I adopted him. His journey is unavoidable for him. I can be grateful that he now has access to the best medical care in the world. I can be grateful that he is considered cured. And believe me, I am.

But more than that I know that being his dad and friend is something incredibly good. I am forever grateful that he is my son.

The Brightest Light

We may not always know why the darkness comes. We may not always understand why these things happen. But if we accept them, if we simply let them be, in the middle of the darkness we may find something good.

All of the good gifts we see, bring light to your lives. They fill us with joy and hope. They bring smiles.

The boxes of darkness bring tears. Pain. Sadness. Suffering.

But we must always remember that the light shines brightest in the middle of the darkness.

Together, let us celebrate what is good. Let us lift up hands of gratitude for these gifts. But also, let us mourn with each other in thanksgiving for our own boxes of darkness.

What are you thankful for?

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About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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5 Replies

  1. I’m thankful for many things. One of them includes people in the blog community like you! Hope you have a great day!

  2. Randi

    You’ll see much of what (who) I’m thankful for here . I also want to say “thank you” to you. You have been a big encouragement to me in our own adoption journeys over the past year and a half.

  3. Thanks for sharing your “adventures,” Randi. That looks like a huge Thanksgiving celebration for your family. Blessings to all.

  4. MIA

    I love reading your stories it inspires me greatly. Thank you so much.

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