Brokenness Creates Humility, Thankfulness Sustains It

Yesterday I gave a presentation and shared a painful story from our lives and some of the lessons we learned, hoping to make a difference for even one person.  


Two specific lessons I shared were:

  • Brokenness can serve as a catalyst to humble us and make us whole again.  
  • Thankfulness is the key to continuing that evolution.    

Tonight I realized that September 11th is just around the corner.  That date, always makes me think of where we were on the day our nation will never forget…  My husband was at work in Houston.  I was on a business trip in Phoenix. I turned on the television in my hotel room as the plane hit the second tower and wondered if I had tuned into a movie instead of the news.  When the Pentagon was hit, I realized everything was real and wondered if this was the start of WW III.  

Several nights later I returned to Houston, by car, in the middle of the night.  When I walked in the door, my husband and I just held each other, so thankful that we were both safe and that we were together again.    

In the days and weeks that followed, our emotions and experiences echoed that of Americans across Our Country.  

  • Numbness, grief, fear and questions mixed with a renewed realization of how precious our families, our country and our freedom were.
  • The red, white and blue decorations on homes, cars, businesses and even on people reminded each of us that we were all in this together, instantly causing us to feel a connection to even complete strangers because of our shared focus on our nation.
  • From the highest offices in our government, to our workplaces and even in our schools, we spoke openly of God and prayed together.

Tonight as all of these thoughts jumbled together, I was reminded that a key trait of great leaders is humility.  Then the lyrics of a song that played repeatedly after September 11th ran through my mind, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn away from all their wicked ways, then I will hear them and move my hand and freely then I will forgive and I will heal their land.” 

In life, in leadership, in communities and in nations:  

  • Brokenness can serve as a catalyst for humility and wholeness.
  • Thankfulness is the key to continuing that evolution!  
I would love to hear from you ~ Where were you on that day?  What have you learned from seasons of brokenness?  How are you sharing what you’ve learned with others?  

President, Giana Consulting

Chery Gegelman is an adventurer that loves to learn. ...Deep conversations, books, travel, and daily living are all food for growth.

As a speaker, facilitator and workshop leader she creates energizing environments that reflect God's grace, tear down walls, help people to consider new perspectives, and inspire change.

Chery is the Founder of Giana Consulting and Conversation Safari's, listed as a Great Leadership Speaker by Inc., writes a recognized leadership blog and has co-authored two leadership books.

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2 thoughts on “Brokenness Creates Humility, Thankfulness Sustains It

  1. Living outside of Manhattan by only 90 minutes, we had a lot that was going on here. The morning started with an early doctor’s appt for my mother, who had broken her foot a few days before. As I picked her up for her appt, she was waiting for me and upset. She kept repeating “something’s not right,” and had me turn on the radio as we drove. It was during that short trip that we learned the second tower and Pentagon had been hit. Soon after, rumors spread of other, closer places that may have been hit as well.

    While the doctor saw to my mother’s needs, I tried hard to find out the truth of the situation, trying to locate family both in CT and in NYC, frustrated with phones that could only ring busy.

    I got a call that my 18-month-old son wasn’t feeling well and needed to be picked up from daycare, so we brought him home with us after the appt, still frantically trying to find my sister. When we finally returned home, she was there, waiting for us and anxious to know that we were alright too.

    The next few hours were spent glued to the TV in my basement. (We never even made it upstairs! We needed information too urgently for that.)

    Little did I think or realize how confusing that would all be to my son. He spoke of the day “the bad men flew the planes into the buildings and made Mommy cry” for a long time afterward.

    Eventually, family and friends were all accounted for. But it made me more mindful than ever of how precious our relationships are. 9/11 impacted our lives in many ways. My business died a lingering death as a result of it, etc. But the most important thing I learned was to refocus my attention on the things of this world that last; acts of kindness, time spent with loved ones, the joy of putting others before myself, etc.

    The brokenness of that period did yield humility and wholeness. The unwitting self-centeredness I’d lived with became less important than rebuilding and fortifying important relationships in my life. And gratitude (thankfulness) fuels the continuation of that process; thankfulness that I have another day to let my loved ones know I care.