Seems sometimes I need a good challenge to get me moving… This month, my mom has inspired me to take on a challenge: each day, consider and tell others one thing you are thankful for. She’s been posting on Facebook since around the first of the month. I didn’t actually get started until earlier this week… actually on the 11th, Veteran’s Day, posting mine on Twitter and Facebook.
But today, in light of the recent funk I’ve been in, it seems thoroughly appropriate to post 10 Things for Which I am Thankful to make up for the days I missed. After all, there’s nothing quite like intentional gratitude for lifting one’s eyes from the urgent to the transcendent.
1. The gift of faith… not in the “Jesus is always the answer in the Children’s sermon” way. God has blessed me with a deep abiding faith, even in the darkest times, that God is there and listening and that we are meant to be in close communion.
2. My husband… as difficult as it is sometimes for me to understand why he does or says the things he does, and as many things as we disagree on, he is a wonderful partner in the adventures of life and marriage and parenthood. He didn’t sign up to be a seminarian’s husband, much less a pastor’s (someday, Lord willing). And yet, he is my biggest fan as I follow this call.
3. My mom… I don’t know how we’d be doing 2 in grad school and 1 in high school and still eat regularly if mom wasn’t here. But beyond that, she has lived this life (when I was a kid) and has become a sounding board for both of us (and for the Boy) for all sorts of questions, from Higher Ed to ordination, from surviving unfair parents to surviving raising a teen.
4. The internet… It brought my husband and I together (yes- way back in the dark days of BBS and dial-up). It allows me to complete my MDiv at Dubuque all the way from Orlando. It has connected me to people in our denomination that live in all parts of the country and beyond, allowing me to participate in or eavesdrop on conversations I never knew took place outside our parish. It allows me to keep up with friends from all parts of my life – even those I thought I’d left behind forever.
5. Music… It calms me, lifts me, challenges and energizes me. It connects me to my son when nothing else will.
6. The beauty of our area… I whine plenty about how hot and humid things get here, but truly, there are more incredible plants, animals, birds, sunsets (and probably sunrises, but I can’t vouch for those) here than anyplace I’ve lived. I do love visiting the mountains, but I am thankful for the ways God speaks so frequently through creation right here.
7. Art… Stained glass, paintings, sculptures, sketches… the outpouring of one’s heart and one’s imagination into a medium that is otherwise utilitarian shows that we are indeed made in the image of a creative, passionate and imaginative God.
8. Second chances… grace from God, from friends left behind or mistreated, family members who didn’t deserve a verbal smackdown (or at least not right at that moment), disappointed employers and colleagues. Yeah. I could go on.
9. Freedom… in the form of days without timelines and deadlines
10. The photos scattered around our house… as wonderful as electronic communication is, there’s nothing like touching an old frame with a faded photo to evoke memories. I see my dad and can hear the FPK giggling as he climbed into Poppy’s lap. I see my grandparents, our old neighbors, our old car, the hubby’s nieces and nephews years before I met them. School photos of the Boy stacked like layers of sedimentary rock in a frame, excavated and laughed over each year as the replacement arrives. Joy and pain. Life recalled.