The cultivation of gratitude is a skill that is developed over time. It is an affirmation of all the goodness and blessings one receives. To express gratitude is the willingness to demonstrate appreciation, even in the most difficult of times. During moments of sorrow or pain, gratitude can be the silver lining of an otherwise dark situation. It helps to shift one's perception to be aware of the beauty and blessings received when confronting obstacles or strife. This spiritual truth was put to the test this past month in our community as events unfolded which would challenge even the most optimistic of us all.
Many of us know the difficulties of the adoption process. Not only are there legal hurdles to overcome, but there are also financial, emotional, and mental barriers that provoke insecurities and test one’s limits. The process can be long and arduous. Yet there are moments of bliss and opportunities along the journey to hold a space a gratitude: the pairing with an adoptee, the approval of the courts, the nesting period, and the arrival of the precious child. This all creates moments of happiness and bliss intermixed between periods of anxiety and uncertainty. During this process, gratitude is a grounding force, especially when holding the child within your arms.
A mentor (and friend) of ours experienced these events and discussed how finding gratitude during the long progress gave him peace of mind. We shared in the collective joy as this new beautiful addition was embraced by the community. Then his baby fell ill. He suffered through long nights with a sick baby, reaching out to doctors who did their best, but ultimately were unsuccessful. Unexpectedly, the baby transitioned. The sense of loss rippled through our close-knit community. The passing of a loved one is always painful, but when it is a baby, the pain feels exponentially and undeniably deeper. How does one even begin to comprehend what happened? Can spirituality provide reasoning for the suffering experienced by such good people? Is God of any comfort during this inconsolable time?
Through the anger, the pain, the loss, there is a spiritual truth, the true silver lining of it all: gratitude. Find the blessings of each moment which can warm the heart and mend the sorrow. Hold gratitude for being a blessing in an infant’s life; for nurturing when the birth parents were unable; for sharing a glimpse of fatherhood even for a finite amount of time; and for experiencing the Divine through the eyes of a child.
Little baby Kaidon’s memorial created an additional shift in our own perception. As a baby wholly untouched by the influence of ego and closely connected to the Divine, he reminded us of life's ultimate lesson: Live a life full of love. Such a small package of light and wonderment can leave such a profound and lasting impression on us all.
There is no fairy tale road to take in this journey called life, but we do have control over our state of being at every turn. Life can be torn apart when viewed as endless pain and suffering, or it can be sewn together with moments of gratitude and love. Even in our darkest hour, we can always connect to the shimmering, shining Light.
Peace and love to you all.