So there you are cruising along through life and **bam**, something bad happens. Something really bad. You feel numb for a while, and then as you regain your balance, you realize that this really bad thing is happening to others. Lots of others. And you say, "Someone needs to do something about this". Then you look in the mirror, and you say, "I need to do something about this".
So you do.
Because you've never done it before, you make mistakes and you learn from those. But you also do a lot of things right. You learn from those too. Throughout, you are focused on the end result, and it keeps you going.
And then the most amazing things start happening. You become the recipient of kindness and generosity both material and spiritual. You begin to connect to others in unexpected ways. You find out you have friends who will walk 39 miles with you, wearing cat ears and tails because they believe in you and the mission. You get support from total strangers who become loyal and true friends. You meet a guy who tirelessly motivates others while wearing a cow suit. You meet people who love your angel as much as you do and they faithfully show up for you and her everyday.
Your friends are there for you - they buy your merchandise and generously participate in your fundraisers. And all the while they are cheering you on, every step of the way. You are are on a mission, one you could not have imagined, yet one that has become a driving force in your life.
You are humbled.
You realize that some of your friends aren't really friends and that is disappointing. But you also see that some strangers really are friends.
You learn that there's a fine line between obsession and passion and that your mom was right, you do get what you give. You accept that it's OK to shed a tear everyday.
Although you'll always hate that the bad thing happened, and would change it if you could, you are grateful for the good that has come from it. You remember what someone else who had been through the same bad thing said to you at the beginning, "This will change you". She was right and you are grateful for the changes, because you are now living something you've said countless times, "It's not about the destination, it's about the journey". You realize how true that is and you're grateful for what this journey has given you. It has taught you that no matter how dark things may be, the world is filled with good people who are generous, kind, compassionate, and loving.
You have discovered the power of gratitude. It has become your guiding compass in life. It has become your religion. And while you may not formally celebrate it everyday with turkey and stuffing, you realize that everyday is Thanksgiving.
And for that, you are thankful.