Have you ever been grateful for a story, chaotic, and wind road. I have and here’s why:
My Long Road to Gratitude
It was another gorgeous San Diego day: Seventy-eight degrees, with a dash of clouds adding character to the sky. I trekked from one side of the county to the other on one of my usual road trips for work. I paused the podcast and took a sip of coffee. Grateful thoughts enveloped me.
I am incredibly blessed, I thought. I’m grateful for,
- Three amazing children.
- A new baby on the way.
- I love my career.
- I have the privilege of connecting with so many amazing people, all over the world, through my blogging and writing.
- Then, there is Jenny—my gorgeous wife, best friend, and the person I love spending time with.
Yet, the thought of Jenny, caused my mind to wander in a different direction. This time, to the things I regret.
Why couldn’t I have met Jenny sooner, I thought.
Life would be so much easier if only…
- We were only a family and not a blended family…
- If we didn’t have to share two of our children each week…
- We were able to put one set of rules and one structure in place…
- If this chaotic court system—which often can’t seem to make up its mind–never entered into our lives.
Yes, life would be so much easier, if Jenny and I had met years ago.
But what if…
The coffee must have been extra strong that morning because my mind was racing a mile-a-minute. Thinking about what life would be like if Jenny and I had met earlier was fresh on my mind.
This November marks ten years of chaos… Ten years of courts… A decade of sharing two of my children… Ten years of a painful, crazy, chaotic, windy-road that I never intended to take.
Although daydreaming about a simpler life was fun, my musings hit a roadblock. I pictured all of the things that I would have to give up if the road was smoother. On several occasions, Jenny remarked how the drama of blended family life has brought the two of us closer together.
Because of this unexpectedly windy road, Jenny and I:
- Talk more.
- Have become adept at problem-solving.
- Quickly learned to work as a team—I’m in awe at how many days are scheduled down to the minute. Yet, Jenny is always right there, partnering with me, to keep our family going.
This led me to think about all of the good that has transpired from the chaos. Ultimately, a relationship disaster, resulting in a failed marriage, has led to many reasons to be grateful. Because of this stormy road:
- Mackenzie and Brooklyn were born.
- I returned to school to study psychology.
- This led to an invitation to teach at the seminary.
- Today, I understand what it is like to hurt and struggle. My journey has transformed me into a more compassionate and understanding person.
In fact, it’s during the chaos that I realized that one-size-fits-all-approach doesn’t work. During my struggles, I began viewing life as an ongoing conversation–which is how this blog, Coffee Shop Conversations, was born.
Many of the things that I like about me, came out of the past chaos.
As I drove down the open highway, sipping coffee, and thinking—which is always a dangerous thing—I came to the conclusion that my stormy, chaotic road, is something to be thankful for.
Why I’m Grateful for my Windy Road
Today I’m grateful for the chaos. Ten years ago, I never would have imagined this would be possible. I reflected back to the humiliating, painful, and confusing moments. These times include,
- Iced-coffee was poured over my head in public.
- Occasions my fingers were twisted, turned, and threatened to be broken.
- Being slapped… hit with a shoe… yelled at… called every name imaginable…
I could go on in my description of the gruesome incidents. However, the details are not important. I don’t write about them often, and I was tempted to leave them out of this post too. Yet, I decided that it was important to provide a glimpse into just how chaotic my own journey was, for a particular reason.
It is Thanksgiving week. This year, our family will be spending the holiday in Sun City, Arizona. The five—soon to be six of us—will be joining Jenny’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousin. We will be celebrating the many things we are grateful for, and as painful as those years of chaos were, they are now included on my gratitude list.
Tears and Turkey
The bottom line is this, I’m providing a glimpse into my story because I want you to know that I can relate. Romans 8:28 describes how God is willing and able to work all things–even the unexpected storms of life–together for our good and His glory.
Today, I know that this scripture is true. Nevertheless, I also know how depressing it is to be in the heat of the chaos, and in the midst of the holiday season. It’s excruciatingly painful to be surrounded by joy while feeling like one’s world has been turned upside-down.
If this is where you are at, I’m not going to encourage you to try to be grateful for your stormy road—at least not yet. Sometimes gratefulness takes time. My goal is to leave you with hope. Know that:
- It is highly likely that God is using this time of uncertainty to transform you into a more loving, caring, and beautiful person.
- Life’s storms are where the greatest personal growth takes place.
- Pain doesn’t last forever, and you will smile again.
Continue the Conversation
Fast forward a decade. I’discovered that my unexpected journey has left me with much to be grateful for. If you are currently on a stormy road, know that there is a good chance that it will eventually lead you to a place of gratefulness. As we move into Thanksgiving week, I would love it if you would join in the conversation.
- How have past trials made you into a better person?
- Has your own windy road left you with reasons to give thanks?
- What are you most grateful for?
If so, I would love to hear about it!
Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving week!