Q: Through the many crises of our son who suffers a chronic psychiatric disorder, my husband and I have come over the last 10 years, to the practice of gratefulness. We are slowly growing into patience, acceptance, trust and unconditional love with a long way still to journey. Essentially, it was through our son’s affliction that we began to look for the opportunity within the gift and tried to ignore the wrapping. But I have great difficulty accepting that it is through HIS suffering that OUR inner life has developed. WE are finding some joy and peace but to all appearances HE is not; my husband thinks that perhaps, he has found a little,occasionally. We would appreciate if you could respond to this, please, Brother David. — Mary, Australia

A: +Thank you, Mary, for sharing so deeply about your journey towards gratefulness. The way in which you and your husband let your challenges spur you on to grow spiritually will surely inspire many others. It does inspire me and moves me deeply.

I do understand your question: Through dealing so bravely with your son’s affliction you find the joy of unconditional love; but what about him? How can he find peace of heart?

Painful as it is, one can find meaning only for one’s own life, not for another person’s – no matter how close and how dear. To find meaning means to receive it with a grateful heart from the very Source of life and meaning. At his own time and in his own way, your son, too, will find the peace and joy you are finding. You may trust in this. Meanwhile, your unconditional love is creating, moment by moment, the ideal conditions for your son to open his own heart.

–Your Brother David

Br. David Steindl-RastGrief
Br. David Steindl-Rast, OSB

Br. David Steindl-Rast, OSB

About the author

Brother David Steindl-Rast — author, scholar, and Benedictine monk — is beloved the world over for his enduring message about gratefulness as the true source of lasting happiness. Known to many as the “grandfather of gratitude,” Br. David has been a source of inspiration and spiritual friendship to countless leaders and luminaries around the world including Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Thomas Merton, and more. He has been one of the most important figures in the modern interfaith dialogue movement, and has taught with thought-leaders such as Eckhart Tolle, Jack Kornfield, and Roshi Joan Halifax. His wisdom has been featured in recent interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Krista Tippett, and Tami Simon and his TED talk has been viewed almost 10,000,000 times. Learn more about Br. David here.