Taking a lifetime of stories and songs and telling the story of a lifetime helped remind me of all the people who were there along the way, some who are gone and the many who remain. The journey gave me reasons to reach out to lots of them, and, when I could, to personally thank them. In the process I also realized how thankful I could be for experiences that felt at the time like failures. All of it helps me now to nurture a daily practice of thankfulness while striving to live life with an attitude of gratitude.
For a long time I considered what I was doing a journey of gratitude and grace. It was only later that I realized I could not make it without grit. There were times when I was sure I would quit, when I didn’t know how or why I would keep going. Somehow I found a way if not always a reason to put one foot in front of another. Eventually I knew in my marrow that to take what life gives me and go where life takes me takes grit.
Perhaps the only thing more gratifying than having grace extended to us is o ering grace to someone else. This journey has given me added opportunities to apologize, to ask for forgiveness, to try to make amends, and where it is possible to o er healing. In the end it was hardest and in some ways most important to be able to finally extend grace to myself.
Gratitude, grit, and grace were each essential components of this journey, this personal pilgrimage. I believe, however, it was how they combined and became something more that eventually led me to define, give meaning, and in time understand what it meant to face my fears, learn to love, and finally make it home.