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Giving Thanks
Tue, November 22 2011

Giving Thanks for 21 Blessings in Disguise


by Belinda Munoz

Giving ThanksEditors’ Note: This guest post  originally appeared  on Belinda Munoz’s blog,  The Halfway Point . We found Belinda’s list so inspiring, and are grateful to her for allowing us to republish the post in its entirety here. Let us know what small or in-disguise blessings you’re grateful for by leaving a comment below!

I’m feeling a bit off these days. Whatever it is, let’s call it existential anxiety of sorts. I’m battling a stubborn cold. My schedule is manageable and still I can’t manage to be with everyone I’d like to see. Somehow, I’m getting things done and yet I have a nagging sense of helplessness. In short, I’m not on my A game.

And I think I know why. I recently spent two consecutive nights with two remarkable individuals who put their lives on the line defending human rights in Ethiopia and Russia. They’ve seen in real life some of the worst offenses human beings do to each other. Violations I’ve only read about in books, seen in pictures, and never ever want to witness in person. And still, I’m shaken to the core and feel a bit powerless as I realize once again how little I do to help. The effect takes a little time to wear off.  So I wait…


Has this ever happened to you? One day, you’re in charge of your life, the next, you’re knocked for a loop and balance lives light years away. So goes the story which I suspect we’ve all watched unravel in our own lives. The illusion of complete control is disturbed by the contingency of chaos. The chimera of confidence is whacked by a smidgen of skepticism. The bubble of safety bursts with a trace of a threat.

Really. It’s easy to give thanks for the blessings that we do have.  Love, family, friends, bounty. These are the hugs and warmth and praises analogous to a soothing back rub or an aromatic cup of tea. For these, we are thankful daily. They make us feel good and we expect and receive them with little to no toll.

And then there are those things which do take a toll. A tax of sorts that leaves us a bit spent. A hefty fine collected at the gate that seemingly depletes our reserves. Our instincts caution us when we encounter things of dubious worth. We pay reluctantly for fear the sale isn’t worth the price.

Retail sales are easy to deal with. Psychological, emotional and spiritual purchases, not so much.

And yet, as we slog to the other side of existential bargaining, experience tells me we can come out okay. Because upon bearing the expense, we emerge tougher than ever. Able to be more, do more and imagine more beyond what is.


And so, in the spirit of gratefulness for blessings that aren’t readily seen as such, this Thanksgiving season, let us give thanks for the things that challenge us, unwanted things we have to confront, things we can’t avoid try as we might, and things that at times turn our world upside down:

  1. For our shortcomings , so that we may learn to look to others who can offer to integrate an extension to our limitations.
  2. For friction in our relationships , so that we may give them the attention they deserve so as to add fullness and depth to present and future interactions.
  3. For confusion , so that enlightenment may grace us if only fleetingly.
  4. For insecurities , so that we may move past pretending and arrive at the truth that we share many and instead of hiding them, perhaps we may one day celebrate them. (Visit Aidan Donnelley Rowley’s blog  Ivy League Insecurities  for a healthy, always-honest and well-written perspective on insecurities.)
  5. For doubts , so that we may either learn to live with them or conquer them by believing when proof evades us.
  6. For fears , so that we may acknowledge the falseness and irrationality in them in order to recognize what tremendously good things lie beyond them.  (Read Patty Bechtold’s  wisewords regarding fear on her blog  Why Not Start Now? )
  7. For challenges that make us doubt ourselves and our abilities , so that we may see what tough material we’re made of.
  8. For the flaws in all of us , so that we may revel in our blemished wholeness.
  9. For anxieties , so that we may do what’s worth doing with care.
  10. For problems that sometimes make being alive difficult