“Throw roses into the abyss and say: Here is my thanks to the monster who didn’t succeed in swallowing me alive.”-Friedrich Nietzsche
No one really teaches us to be grateful for the beasts in our lives. The beauties, yes, indeed. The smiles, the laughs, the happy moments and simple pleasures—these are things to which we are encouraged to give thanks for their presence, however fleeting they may be.
The roof over your head. The smell of fresh coffee in as the sun dawns on a new day. The safe embrace of a lover, the sweet smell of a child’s head, the celebratory clinking of glasses with friends who hold your heart with care. For these we are grateful, and that gratitude seems to come with relative ease.
But what about the tears that soak our pillows? What about the breaking of hearts and bones and dreams? What about the monsters who try to swallow us alive, and in the process we learn to tap more deeply into our well of internal strength?
We’re not expected to give thanks to the beasts who come knocking and say, “I’m here to teach you something; the lesson will be painful, but it will expand you beyond anything you’ve yet imagined.” We’re not asked to lay roses at their feet and bend a knee in deep gratitude for the way in which they forced us to claw at our shadow and reveal a higher version of Self.
While we certainly do grow in the light and expand through love, none of these can exist without the darkness, without the abyss, without the caves in which we’re asked to come face to face with our stories and let go of what we think to be true. The beasts are why, when light breaks, we have the courage to step into it’s warmth.