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On Second Thought

I'm thankful for flat tires, crappy weather, cancer and other setbacks
Lead Summary
Lori Sorenson

I’ve never cared for family Thanksgiving prayers that require each of us to say out loud what we’re thankful for.
Mostly that’s because an original prayer is hard to come by at the end of a 10-person table. Also, we’re sometimes thankful for things that require explanation (which nobody wants to hear when their food is getting cold).
What if I blurted out that I’m thankful for Mom’s cancer? My sisters would throw their cranberries at me.
In reality, I am thankful for cancer — mostly for the perspective and clarity it has afforded in focusing on what matters and dismissing what doesn’t.
It’s a reminder that hardships or setbacks often result in deeper gratitude.
For example, we’ve had beautiful fall weather with gorgeous sunsets, brilliant trees and mild temperatures.
But it wasn’t until a weeklong bout of wintery, blustery weather that I truly appreciated the sunny days that followed. Each lovely day was like the last chocolate in the box — to be relished.
So, I guess you could say I’m thankful for crappy weather.
I’m also thankful for the occasional stomach flu or headache, because they remind me to appreciate good health. Many chronically ill people function daily with pain and ailments, and it’s a blessing to be healthy.
The list goes on.
I’m thankful for flat tires and broken cell phones. They remind me how easy life is today compared to a few short generations ago before modern transportation and technology.
I’m thankful for readers who complain about news in the paper, because they remind me that what we do matters (and I’m even more grateful for readers with kind words).
Similarly, I’m grateful for typos and mistakes and for those who point them out. Humility is a valuable character trait, and I’m lucky to hone that one every week.
I’m thankful for deadlines, because as much as I dread them, they result in satisfaction of completed work.
I’m thankful for cold Minnesota winters, because they make us appreciate each spring and the promise of new life.
I’m thankful for challenging children, because teachable moments are opportunities for both children and parents to learn.
I’m thankful for unfulfilled dreams, because we grow stronger from these experiences and are ever more grateful to discover God’s plan for us along the way.
I’m thankful for gray hair and wrinkles, because they’re signs that I’ve lived long enough to acquire them.
I’m thankful, similarly, for growing old in general, because wisdom that comes with age reminds us that physical beauty is only skin deep.
…. And that good things in life are not to be taken for granted, even if it takes a little hardship to remind us.

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