granite
GranTED, not granITE…

When I was little, I thought the saying was “taken for granite” instead of “granted.” And actually, there is truth to my misstated cliché. If you take something for granted, it’s a bit like believing it’s set in stone…when it’s not.

I’ve had major lessons in this throughout my life, and I’m thinking the same holds true for most people. That’s why sayings like “you don’t miss the water till the well runs dry” exist! Because we are taught over and again that reality doesn’t always align with our plan.

You think, assume, or hope your life is going to be one way, and then you see just how little “granite” has to do with anything. An early and major lesson on this front was losing a parent at a relatively young age. I had assumed my dad would be in my life much longer than he was—but that wasn’t in the plan. Big lesson in taking nothing for granted, right?

Apparently, though, I’m a hardhead. I seem to need reminders, and, as life would have it, I get plenty of them.

2013 clock

2013 has been one big, fat, ongoing reminder. It’s been like a droning lecture from a philosophy professor with long, crooked teeth and an ill-fitting tweed jacket. The kind of lecture where you try really hard in the beginning to take good notes and follow along but before long you find yourself slumped face down on your desk with drool on your hand, the taste of sleep in your mouth, and a huge crick in your neck. (College flashback, anyone?)

2013’s notes include lessons on not taking things like health, family, or employment for granted. Note to the Professor of Life: I get it. The lecture has sunk in. For now.

But unlike the outcome of the droning philosophy lecture, where the end result is probably a foggy understanding and a C+ on the exam, the upside of the life lesson is a renewed sense of blessing and appreciation.

The “granite” reminders continue their teaching with other formidable lessons…

When you need to box your way out of a tough situation, you learn who is in your corner.  

When you have to pare away nonessentials…you learn what IS essential.  

When you know how it feels to hurt to walk, you will make it your business to strive to run. 

When your life garden is full of challenges, you see compassion bloom. 

And when you see someone you love in pain, you focus outside yourself and remember the importance of both giving and receiving love and support.

The takeaways from a difficult year can be powerful, and as 2013 comes to a close, I’m calling it a honing year…All things work together for good…at least that is what I believe in and pray for.

I’m hoping I don’t need more reminders any time soon, though. Even for my thick head, I think I’ve had enough to last me for a while. But I am grateful that I am able to see the significance behind the struggles.

And if you are having a rough go of it, as so many people I know are, I hope that you, too, are able to find the meanings and blessings that bubble their way up through the muck. After all, the best “granite” we have to stand on is the faith in that which we cannot see.

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