Have you ever given a homemade gift to somebody who just doesn’t “get it”? All the love, thought, time, effort and energy is shrugged off as though by giving something home-made (which, to be honest, will never look as uniform as things that are mass produced) is somehow second best. As though everything that went it doesn’t matter, because you didn’t spend a whole load of money.
And then people say it’s the thought that counts.
Sometimes people aren’t grateful for things, or for life, or for circumstances, not because there is anything inherently wrong with the things, or the life, or the circumstances, but because they can’t see it. Sometimes, it’s like you’re giving someone a homemade gift and all they can see is what’s wrong with it, rather than what’s right with it. They don’t mean to be ungrateful. They just can’t see. It is really difficult to be grateful for something that you can’t see.
I have struggled with depression for extended periods of my life, but not always in the sense that you would imagine. For me, it’s like I spend my life walking along a path near a giant chasm. Sometimes I can hear the roar of a waterfall, sometimes, I can see the cliff edge is far over there, or right over here. If I’m really lucky, there’s a railing in place and I can almost relax (almost, because sometimes those railing are made of gossamer). Sometimes, the ground falls away from underneath my feet.
Sometimes I can’t see anything at all.
Sometimes, I can be like that person receiving the homemade gift, and I can’t see all that is beautiful and just-right, but only that my life is not mass-produced. Not like everybody else’s. Not what I expected when I opened the box. It’s difficult to be grateful when you can’t see.
But gratitude is like a candle. You need to light it to use it, but then you can see. And when you can see, it becomes so much easier to make light for other things. Because light is still light, whether it’s big or small. You just need enough to see to make enough light to see the next thing.
Sometimes, when you can’t see, you need somebody to come alongside you and share their candle.