Over the past few months I’ve watched several marriages fall apart and others go through some very hard things. I’ve been thinking so much about those three years of sheer suffering I went through while I fought to keep mine together, pleading and fighting and trying everything I could to keep a ship from sinking that had long been sunk. It was hard. It was terrible. And it was terrifying.
It’s hard to watch now in someone else’s life because I know just how it feels and I wouldn’t wish that brand of pain on anyone.
I get to observe these broken marriages with a clarity that only comes from hindsight. It’s easy to see the path through when you’re not the one hurting. And it’s hard to tell someone what to do with their life because the only person who has to live with the consequences of their choices is not me, but them. Life can be so messy. And so, so hard.
Which brings me to Thanksgiving.
Today I am thankful for pain. Pain is life’s great transformer, it changes hearts that are smashed into pieces into something new and beautiful. It’s never what we want, but oftentimes the only thing we need. Pain often does God’s work.
I learned to make pain my teacher, learn what I could from it, let it wash over me and embrace it. I was determined to learn every lesson I could from my tragedy and let it make me better. Pain was my healer.
Four years ago, our relationship budding and new, I ate pie for breakfast with Josh, hiked devil’s kitchen with Josh, cooked Thanksgiving dinner with Josh, realized I was falling in love with Josh. I didn’t know then that life would look like it does now, that he was the incredible man, father and husband that he is. I barely had a glimpse of the gift I was being given.
But Josh isn’t the hero of this story, he’s just part of it. He wasn’t what saved me, I was saved before we met.
It was the pain. I allowed it to open up my eyes, to burn everything to the ground so I could rise from the ashes. I did the long and hard work that it took to become a whole person. I cried a river of tears, looked deep within myself, and I healed, at first inch by inch and finally in leaps and bounds.
And because I healed I was given this full and wonderful life for which, today, and every day, I am so incredibly thankful.