To Adversity:

For every difficult time I've had, and every good thing that has come from the struggle of working through it: I am grateful.

For the faith that used to come easy.

For the complexity of faith that is my new normal - the kind of faith I'm working at becoming more and more comfortable with. Comfort not always with the questions I have [and where the consideration of an answer to those questions leads me], but with being okay with asking them, and being brave enough to see them through.

For the times when I've felt like the "other." I've learned empathy, and found a resolve to draw the circle wide...and to draw it wider still.

For everyone with whom I haven't seen eye to eye: I've seen that love can fill the gaps of misunderstandings and differences of opinion.

For the three times in my life that I've been drunk.

For the boyfriend I had for too long in high school.

For the physical blows I've taken from people I love.

For the many more emotional blows I've taken from the same.

For the hurt that comes with the realization that I've dealt these blows to others.

For my grandmothers who are living whom I've never met.

For my biological father who lived in a teepee rather than with me.

For mourning lost loves [in death and sometimes in life] in a way that still makes my heart ache.

For the falling out with friends and the joyful reconciliations, regardless of the time that passes.

For deep-down peace amid the storms.

For every time someone has said, "No." [And for the times when some have said, "Yes."]

For the ways in which love can be inconvenient.

For when my friend's dad, whom I hadn't seen in over nine years, introduced me to his new wife like this:
"She's Mormon. So how many kids do you have now?"
"I have two daughters."
"Only two? Well, I guess it's about time for another." [Under his breath, "Mormons are baby factories."]
And rather than a biting comeback, my heart was filled with gratitude for the life I had: Getting married at 18, and Jake and I putting ourselves through college, and a masters, and what will eventually be a PhD. The sweet home we live in, and the sacrifice we made to send our girls to a school we purposefully chose.
Yes, I'm Mormon. Yes, I only have two daughters. But even if I had ten, I would still be trying my best to mother them in a thoughtful, intentional way whilst trying to live my life in every way just the same.
Snarky comments, when an angered response is squelched, can be an amazing catalyst for truths bubbling up to the mind and heart. This experience was transformative. Perhaps I should send a thank you note.

For the fact that all of my stories start with "It's a bit complicated."

For the questions without answers.

For the questions with answers that force me to ask hard questions about myself.

For the difficulty that comes with being brave enough to tell the truth about myself. The liberation of finally being able to do so is worth the strife.

For being wrong.

For the way that adversity continues to unfold the path of discipleship I have chosen, and for the times when my steps on this path are clumsy.

Grateful, Grateful. Truly Grateful I am.
I feel a hand holding my hand
It's not a hand you can see
But on the road to the promised land
This hand will shepherd me
Through delight and despair
Holding tight and always there 
Grateful, Grateful. Truly Grateful I am.
In a world that can bring pain
I will still take each chance
For I believe that whatever the terrain
Our feet can learn to dance
Whatever stone life may sling
We can mourn or we can sing: 
Grateful, Grateful. Truly Grateful I am.
Grateful, Grateful.
Truly Blessed
And duly grateful. 
-from Grateful by John Bucchino [Listen here]

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