For all the challenges that have given me reason to feel less than grateful in times gone by, I have had the time and the opportunity to see that gifts that were hidden within those challenges and heartaches. But believe me, none of that happened over night. Finding the diamonds hidden in the rough patches of our lives never does come quickly or easily. But with time, it does come.
This is one of my favorite pictures of a reminder of all that I have to be grateful for, even after the heartache. It came in the form a call I got from Trem in July of 2010, shortly after he and Shane should have graduated together. Circumstance resulted in Shane not being with us to graduate in body, but he could not have been more present than he was that day in spirit! Trem won the 'Shane Dickson Memorial Award for Inclusion' that year, and Trem texted me a few days later to tell me that he was planning to have a tattoo done to honor Shane and the years that he had been with us, asking if I was okay with that. How could it ever have not been? My heart exploded.
This was the picture he texted me of the tattoo that day...raw, and new and painful...sort of like the memories we shared of Shane were like at that time. Now, over 3 more years later, the memories still can be painful, but they are less raw, and not nearly as new. The good news is that they are still just as alive and just as important as they ever were.
As we celebrate another Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the opportunity that Trem and I have to share the story of the friendship that he and Shane shared. I am grateful that Shane was blessed with a friend who recognizes the importance of sharing that story. To share the hope that that this can happen for all children, with and without disabilities. To share the hope that the story we choose to share with people will lead to more friendships, more tolerance, more opportunities, start to pave the way to eliminating bullying in our schools today. Having the opportunity to be part of the change that will move the world forward into a softer, more inclusive society is something that is so much to be Thankful for!
As you count your many blessings today, don't forget to be thank ful for the ways in which you too have an opportunity to make change for something better in our world....then go forward and find your own way to be part of that change....and be Thankful that you live in a world where you have the freedom that you can make those choices! Namaste