During this special time of Thanksgiving and acknowledgment of gratitude, I wish to share a book recommendation with you. It’s titled, Growing Through the Narrow Spots by Ruth Bachman. I’ve long since learned to pay attention to what shows up in my life and grabs my attention: a sudden awareness of the words to a song, a saying on a billboard or a bumper sticker, or, as in this case, a book title that jumps out at me. This particular title stirred an inner familiarity and it presented itself during an especially challenging personal time.
What are the narrow spots? Well, when I was a child, I found myself fascinated by the seemingly delicate flowers and weeds that pushed through the tiny cracks in the cement sidewalks in my hometown of Lubbock, Texas. Narrow spots were those tiny cracks in the sidewalk. As an adult, I became aware of the narrow spots in the sidewalk of life.
Every day life lessons! Many small, many big! Challenges that seemingly knock us off course and require our immediate attention and a shift in awareness: gratitude for the gift of health when a health challenge occurs; gratitude for the gift of friendship and family when a loss occurs; gratitude for our homes that nourish and protect us until the loss of that home. The list is endless of the blessings in our lives we take for granted until they are challenged or lost. These are the narrow spots – when life closes in – requiring us to navigate differently. And, if we’re fortunate and pay attention to our personal GPS, the gift, when all is said and done, may be an endless supply of gratitude.
Can you see the holiness in those things you take for granted – a paved road or a washing machine? If you concentrate on finding what is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul. –Rabbi Harold Kushner
In Bachman’s personal story of loss and acceptance, she states, “ The secret is not to fight the passage, but to bravely accept what is – to say, “Yes” and embrace the passage, not a stoic surrender, rather a courageous reconciliation with reality.”
Bachman’s beautiful book speaks to all of us, regardless of our personal life challenges. Her words remind us that gratitude awaits on the other side of the tight spaces, if we choose courage and resilience to navigate through.
Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds. –Theodore Roosevelt