How To Be Grateful When Difficulties Come Your Way

Earlier this year, I had a really rough day. It didn’t start that way but it sure ended that way.

Pam and I had returned the day prior from our vacation to St. Ignace, Michigan. We’d spent a wonderful week exploring the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and spending valuable time together. The trip was great.

Woman standing by the beach with closed hands

Photo by Joshua Reddekopp

I was expecting a nice, relaxing day on Sunday as Pam and I would be celebrating her birthday and getting ready to start the next week. Only things didn’t play out the way I expected. Our plans changed because of a car accident.

We’d attended church and were headed home. I was driving the same route I normally take when I saw a dirt bike up ahead. He wasn’t too far away and it looked like he was slowing down and moving to the right shoulder of the road.

This was when I decided to pass him. I had time before the intersection and it looked like his speed was slow enough I could beat him to it.

I was wrong.

As I went to pass the dirt bike, I saw he had shifted and was coming straight for our Kia Soul. Seeing this, I made a choice to slam on the brakes and turn away from the dirt bike.

I was too late. I could miss the dirt biker but I couldn’t avoid the pole in front of me. Pam and I hit the pole on the passenger side of the car. Her side.

Thankfully, the Kia Soul protected us in the accident. We barely felt the impact. But the car took a bit of damage.

And, to top it all of, it was Pam’s birthday! Yeah, that’s right. I crashed my wife’s car on her birthday…

Talk about a bad day.

How To Be Grateful When Difficulties Come Your Way

After the accident, I felt horrible. I’d almost hit another person. Had I hit him, it wouldn’t have been good. I believe our car would have taken him out.

My wife’s car was damaged. She wouldn’t be able to drive it for a week or two.

Plans for her birthday dinner were out the window. We wouldn’t be able to go to the restaurant she desired.

It was hard to be grateful after the accident. But there were things to be grateful for.

We chose to be grateful because we were unharmed:

The accident could have been much worse. We could have been injured in the car accident.

I could have been going faster and the impact could have set off the airbags. Pam could have had her window down and the nearby tree could have hurt her. The car could have been undrivable after the accident but it wasn’t.

When you face a difficult circumstance, be grateful for coming out of it unharmed. You might have egg on your face or you might have to answer for your choices but you are relatively unharmed.

We chose to be grateful because the dirt biker was uninjured:

My biggest fear as I realized there was going to be an accident was that I was going to kill the person on the dirt bike. He had minimal protection and we were both traveling at a decent rate of speed.

Had we collided, I don’t know how he would have fared. However, that’s a moot point. We didn’t collide. I was able to steer my vehicle away from him and avoid hurting him.

When you face difficulties, be glad no one else was harmed in the situation. You may have come close but you didn’t. You were able to avoid hurting anyone else.

We chose to be grateful because we know vehicles can be repaired or replaced, people cannot:

Can I tell you how much my wife loves her Kia Soul? She has a blast driving it and loves the heck out of it. Yet, it was damaged in the accident.

We know the car would be repaired or replaced. The car is only a material possession.

Had someone been injured or killed in the accident, it would have been horrible. Life cannot be replaced.

When you face difficulties, know that things can be replaced or repaired. People cannot. They are the one irreplaceable thing in this world.

Be grateful everyone survived the situation.

You get to choose what to be grateful for:

Difficult situations are hard to deal with. They play with your mind and you will question yourself again and again. However, you also need to choose to be grateful.

Things could have been much worse.

When you realize what else could have happened, you can find things to be grateful for. Seek out the things you can be thankful for in your difficult situations. They might be:

  • The amazing business partner who stands with you as your business is crumbling
  • A loving spouse who chooses to forgive you for a mistake you made
  • The chance to make things right
  • All of your remaining customers
  • The beautiful city you get to live in
  • A chance to rebuild what is broken
  • Your awesome team members

Don’t let difficult situations stop you from being grateful. You can find things you are grateful in any situation you’re going through.

Question: Are you grateful when things are difficult? Why or why not? Share your answers in the comments below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.