It’s been the norm for so many to post long lists of what they are thankful for. It’s easy to sit down, look around your room, think of your family and list how awesome life can be. I agree, all those things, and people, are worth being thankful for. I however would take more time to think for more than just the surface, or even the below the surface things I am thankful for. We don’t always think of all the things that make us who we are and think, “Yeah, I’m thankful for that.” I would say that mostly we think only the things that were fond memories, or successful struggles should be the things that determine who we are. I will take that one step farther.
I have, this holiday, thought of more than just a few things or just a few people that I am thankful for. I am taking time to think of those things that make who I am that are not always fun to remember. For myself, I can say that there are some memories that have produced cracks in the armor of my self esteem that I don’t want to be thankful for. There are things that have happened to those I love that I am definitely not thankful for. But, like many people, I would take a moment to put those horrible events into a positive light, if only for a moment.
For some people I do love dearly, things have happened in their life that are in no ways positive. That in no way could anyone say that it was a good thing for them to go through. I would agree. I would also say, here and now, that those horrible events have also brought about new life in places that were previously barren. It is too often that struggle brings out real growth. Struggles to love, struggles to win, struggles to keep going on those days that we just don’t have any hope. But those struggles bring life. Those moments, days, weeks, months, and sometimes years can produce such brilliant life in both ourselves and in those around us that the pain, while in no way is a blessing, results in life, growth, beauty and love.
In the simplest ways, hard times bring to us those who really love us. They show true hearts. It is a shame that for some (myself included, I am ashamed to say) it is not easy to find words or ways to show the love that we feel. It takes time to work out thoughts we don’t know how to grapple with. In that I would like to amend my lack of words and support. There are people in my life that I am thankful for, proud of, and daily thinking of. I love them all and think of them often. I won’t put their names here, because I will be posting this publicly, however I will say that there are more than a few family members on the list.
I am thankful for those who help, aid, support, and encourage the ones they help. I want to take time to say thank you, I am thankful for you, and am proud to be related to you. I love you all and am grateful that you are in my life, in any all ways that we are connected.
I am of course thankful for a long list of other things, like I mentioned above. I will make that list later. Those things are not the deep things. They are not the things that without them I would be less of who I am, or a different person. I am thankful I have them, but they are not things that help define me. The things that do define me, give me more ME, are things like parents, brother and sister-in-law, cousins, aunts, uncles, and family that maybe aren’t of the same blood but are still important.
I want, first however, to go over some things that might be odd to be thankful for. I am thankful for things that have been hard to get through, not because they happened, but because I became who I am, and those around me were people I trusted even more.
I am thankful for all the cycles of life, from birth to death, and those whom I have known who have gone on; They taught me quite a lot by their life, both from what I learned from them, and what others have had to say about them. I am thankful for parents, not mine, but others. New and old parents who give such beautiful descriptions of what it means to be a family. The good with the bad stories are always welcome, and always have a nugget of truth and wisdom to go along with them. I am thankful for everyone who is not new to the earth, or returning to it. You decorate the world with beauty when you choose to live up to your best potential, and give us all something to think about when you don’t. I know that if I take time to think before I react to hard to deal with people, I can learn something about myself, or maybe about life in general. If I try to take the time to really think about it, I can even understand why someone who is rubbing me the wrong way might be in the place they are. I am thankful that I have the ability to do that.
I am thankful for pain. I am thankful that it teaches me what is dangerous. I am thankful that it tells me I am pushing beyond my usual ability. I am thankful it tests me. I am thankful that it can be a sign of rewards to come. I am also thankful that it, too often, reminds me of my limitations. And I am thankful for my limitations. Without them I would not know what it meant to grow, to struggle, to fight for something worth while, or to even know what something worthwhile is. I believe that life is a journey, not a series of destinations. The destinations are merely the places where we can catch our breath before the next part of the journey can begin. In that way, pain will come. Pain lets us know that we are moving, it lets us know that we are alive.
I am thankful for those who struggle. I am thankful for those who have never ending struggles. They are heroes. It would be easy to write off such people by saying something along the lines of, “They didn’t seek it out, they didn’t try to become more than they are, they are just reacting to their situation.” I can see and understand why someone might think that. I can also say that struggling everyday with something that will never go away is a profound statement of character. It is too easy to face the impossible and just lie down and give up. It is too simple to look at something that befalls you and think, “That’s it. I’m done. I can’t do this anymore.” That is why those people who can’t simply get away from their pain, are my heroes. I am thankful for them in a very deep, and a very powerful way. If they can do what they are doing everyday, then I think my life isn’t too bad, and the dreams I have, can be realized.
Being thankful is not just a simple prayer, remembrance, or comment. Being thankful really thankful, is a soul touching experience you can do on your own or with people you care about. Being thankful is also being thankful that you are you. That might be the hardest one to do. It is common practice to have a part of yourself that you hate, its socially expected. It is much more difficult to look at yourself, deep inside and on the surface, and say, “Thank you. Thank you for being you. Thank you for being me.” That might be the hardest one to say. I will however write it here (and maybe go find a mirror to do it for real to), I am thankful for me. I am thankful that I am who I am. I am thankful that I survived until now, eve though there were times I could have given up entirely. I am thankful for the cracks and the stains. I am thankful for the imperfections. I am grateful that I am who I am.
Well, now that you’ve survived my Turkey day introspections, I will give you that list of things that I am thankful for that most people say around the dinner table:
family, all of them
friends, all of them
God, and all that’s been done
work and coworkers
a working car
a place to live
books and movies
my computer and all that’s on there
my ability to write and read
my desk and chair
stories of so many kinds
projects, finished and unfinished
traveling and seeing, eating, watching, experiencing new things
video games, most of them
dreams, both when I’m asleep and when I’m awake
the past and the future, for memories and hopes and plans
music and instruments
pictures and cameras
radio while I’m driving
TV in the background
tools for doing things I love, and giving me the ability to make cool stuff
time off, vacations and weekends
those moments when your friends all ‘get it’ at the same time and everyone smiles
jokes, good and bad
the sun, moon, stars, day and night, midnight and noon
long walks on nice days
the beach, the ocean, sand, shells, the smell of salt water
mountains, pine trees, moss on rocks, hidden paths, non-dangerous wild animals
dangerous wild animals that don’t try to eat me
cool evenings by ponds, streams, bogs, or lakes where life sings
school, because of friends, lunch and recesses, but also cuz I learned stuff (not always spelling or good list making)
dessert, all of it
love (the sappiest of all things to be thankful for, but I still am)
let’s add trust, and companionship to that as well, while I’m listing those mushy things
and of course wordpress, for letting me do this