Monday, November 29, 2010

the thanks giving post.

Though Thanksgiving has come and gone, I want to voice my thanks before continuing on with updates and new reflections and the Christmas-themed posts sure to ensue.

I got out of town and had a wonderful holiday weekend with family and an extension of my family (aka my brother-in-law's family in-law in-law?) and also that boy I'm so fond of. We went to fetch the Christmas tree for my parents' house and decorated it with twinkly lights and cheery ornaments, which means that I will soon begin waxing poetic and becoming wildly excited about any- and everything even remotely related to Christmas. That's right. Be ready.

But first, some giving of thanks.

It's unfortunate that we need a national holiday to remind us to be thankful, but it seems that we do. (We don't need a national holiday to remind us to eat, so I'm going to stick to giving thanks as the primary purpose of the day/this post.) I probably complain more than I give thanks, which is a horribly skewed way of going about things in a life that has been filled with far more goodness than suffering.

And I want to live a life of gratitude.

There is much to be thankful for, after all. On the most elementary level, I am thankful for the material things that I have but don't need or deserve and so many go without--big things like plenty of food for the table and a little apartment all my own; simple and ultimately unnecessary things like cooling racks for hot loaves of bread; the electric blanket and humidifier that, though also unnecessary, make my Michigan winters much more bearable; shoes for my feet to stay warm and my body well, because it could be otherwise.

And of course, there are the good people surrounding me. There's this one girl who has now lovingly listened to a year's worth of joy and heartache and anxiety, who picked much of my summer sustenance with her very own hands, with whom I've never cooked a disappointing meal and whose single-syllable laugh I at some point unconsciously picked up. There's this other lovely lady in my city but from my hometown who absolutely makes my "short list," whose presence seems to ensure an eventful evening out and with whom a bottle of wine, a dessert (two desserts?), a platter of cheeses or a Valentine's day celebration was never unhappily shared. There is an incredible woman who believes in me more than I believe in myself, has a strength and vitality I strive to emulate and is the kind of mother that makes me want to be a mother.

I have a father who is a source of constant joy and offers much-needed guidance for my professional life on a regular basis, and my mom--who is also one of my very best friends--listens to me talk nonstop whenever I need to. (Seriously. My parents are awesome.) My sister and brother-in-law are living in the same country I am living in, which is something to be thankful for in itself, and on top of that, they are great house guests, read even my longest emails without complaining and are full of wisdom and hope.

There are good folks at my workplace; wise mentors from college and church; dear old friends now living in other cities, states and countries far off; kind landlords who fix even little things like broken doorknobs; new, inspiring acquaintances in this city that is my home.

And there is also a boy who makes me laugh until my face hurts, sees the bit of goodness in everything, listens to every last story even from a boring day, runs with me in the dark, cares about the world and appreciates a good meal or a well-made scone just as much as I do.

Along with all of that, I give thanks for the great big things, the things I ought to be expressing gratitude for with every breath: justice in my daily life, freedom, opportunity, health, peace in my neighborhood--and a good and sovereign God who holds everything, even that which is not just or peaceful or right.

Finally, I am thankful for a vast miscellany of other gratitude-inducing aspects of my life, such as my (currently) pest-and-rodent-free apartment, the fact that said apartment is in a house painted purple, my job (for both its good days and its bad ones), my little office with its fake plant, local businesses where they know my name and cardigans and baked goods and music and artwork and poetry and cookbooks and hope.

May I remain thankful all the year 'round.