I started Thanksgiving with a Facebook post thanking God and my mom for being the two ever-present forces in my life over the last year, which has been year of change to say the least. It set off a cascade of thoughts about everything I’m thankful for because of or in spite of all the changes. I thought about the “little things” that weren’t so little to my mind, heart and spirit.
- My friend of almost-a-lifetime, Wayne, took a day off and drove for three hours to hang out with me and do nothing more than have a three-hour lunch in a Mexican restaurant, then drive three hours home.
- My eldest child will be 18 this week and will graduate from high school in the spring. One of her college application essays focused on how she considers being “on The Spectrum” not a disability, but a blessing.
- My youngest child, all of 11, loves to do and to go and to experience. This year, she learned to swim. Because I can’t, I had a heart attack every time the instructor took the kids into the 10-foot end of the pool. May she be the explorer that I struggled to be.
- My professional partner-in-creativity Caryn, with her amazing artistic talent, I am grateful for simply because I get to work with her. Ditto for all of the other terrific people on staff at Epworth United Methodist Church who teach the children, lead the youth, run the office, arrange for classes, balance the books, answer the phones, and nurture the spirits.
- Being diagnosed with situational depression and anxiety might seem like a strange thing for which to be grateful, but it was the gift of empathy. I kept my head above water enough to recognize the problem, to assess how I felt without judging, to be willing to talk to someone, and to know that eventually I would be okay. And I recognize that there are many people who cannot keep their heads above water, who fight for emotional air, and who are not okay. I have been given a taste of it; I am not drowning in it. The experience calls me to those with invisible injuries, emotional injuries, internal brokenness.
- I am thankful for the friends who understood when I cancelled plans at the last minute because the anxiety was too much, and I’m thankful they still love me.
- A wrong turn in a hospital corridor…total God moment.
- I was given the gift of holding the hand of a dying friend. She opened her eyes, smiled at me, and said “thank you”.
- Two years almost to the day since God called me to ordained ministry, I was accepted to Methodist Theological School of Ohio. I’ll begin working on my Master of Divinity next fall.
- My eldest child (see above) has been accepted to one university, and has an application pending at another. She will start her Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice when I start my MDiv.
- I spent my 46th birthday away from home. After hanging out with my awesome cousin and his fabulous wife on Friday night, I attended the Write in the Country writing retreat at The Red Maple Inn on Saturday. That night, I had dinner with five amazing women writers at a bistro we stumbled across in the wilds of Geauga County. We reconvened for more laughs over a big, homemade country breakfast the next morning. In spite of car trouble that kept me panicky for the 3 hour drive home, I would not have traded that weekend for anything. I laughed, ate, slept, learned, and inhaled radiant fall color and sunshine.
We often think about the tangibles – food, clothing, shelter, etc – that we are thankful for during Thanksgiving, Christmas, the New Year, and other celebratory holidays. What are intangibles for which you give thanks this year? What moments and experiences left you changed?