Well, today is Thanksgiving in the United States… a day we are supposed to be joyful and celebrate all the things we are thankful for. Well that and eat too much food, drink coffee during the Macy’s parade, watch football games you don’t care about, and spend time with your family. In my family, its usually a joyful occasion full of hugs, laughter, Grandma’s cooking, and booze snuck in the kitchen with my sister. But this year is not normal.
I don’t know how you are doing, but I am not ok. In fact, I haven’t been doing ok for a long time. This shit show of a year has wounded my heart more times than I can count, in both big and small ways. I have cried more than I remember in my lifetime and have felt loneliness and despair in ways I have never experienced before. The worst part is, almost everyone I know is going through the same hurts. So how then do we give thanks in the midst of such a desperate situation?
I pray that one day I will be able to look back and say that all this pain had a purpose. I hope at some point, I can somehow return to the blissful ignorance of believing that everything is ok. I dream of making plans and seeing them to fruition with joy. I am desperate to sing again, and laugh again, and feel comfortable in my own skin, and live free from anxiety and fear. But right now, it’s all on hold.
Till then, I must choose to cling to the things for which I have a sense of deep gratitude. I desperately need to set my mind on more than just a day or a moment of thanksgiving, but set my eyes on the things in which I can root my heart safely and securely.
On this Thanksgiving Day, I am grateful for the sun that continues to warm the earth each day… for the stars that continue to create a sense of awe and wonder… for the sea that brings peace to my mind… for the changing of the seasons bringing renewal each year… for animals that warm my heart (especially Scout, the little heartbeat at my feet.)
I am grateful for creativity and imagination… for empathy, kindness, mercy, and second chances… for music and dancing… for encouragement… for laughter.
I am grateful for Christmas lights and tea and cozy blankets… for sleeping in on chilly days… for food, shelter, and clean water.
I am grateful that my family is healthy and safe, even in the middle of a pandemic. I am grateful that despite Jeff’s unemployment for a large portion of the year, we always had enough money to pay the bills and keep food on the table, thanks to the kindness and generosity of our families. I am grateful that even though it’s not anything like normal, I can still interact with my students and pour love into their lives.
I am grateful for love… for my family who has always stood by me, even when they didn’t understand me… for the friends who have never given up on me… for my students who I see as my own children… for my therapist who has helped me learn to love myself… for the people in my life who SEE me… for my husband who is my champion and my very best friend.
And more than anything, I am eternally grateful for a God who loves me more than I can possibly imagine… even when I fail… even when I can’t feel it.