With all that has taken place over the last year, finding things to be thankful for has not come as quickly or as easily as it has in years past. My heart and mind have been dominated by the traumas I’ve experienced this year and their nearly equally traumatic fallouts, so it takes awhile to find God within the storm. At first thought, it seemed like this Thanksgiving blog was going to end up as a snarky rant against those things, but as I reflect on what good there has been, no matter how small it may seem in comparison, I realize there may be more reason to be thankful than I thought.
It’s true that this year has seen the deepest wounds, the worst betrayals, and the biggest traumas than any other year. Ones that have set me back, completely re-set my course, and changed me in ways I’m still figuring out. But it has also seen some miracles that, while maybe small and inconspicuous, did serve to create even the possibility of survival and sanity. For instance…what would I be doing right now if two certain friends had not taken compassion on me, offering me a safe place to live when I was completely desperate? Where in the world would I be without the detective who has listened to every detail of my trauma (as well as all the roller-coaster of emotional fallouts of it) with the patience, understanding, insight, and wisdom of a saint? Where would I be without the only two people in the entire world I can call ‘mom’ and ‘dad’? Where would I be without the few friends who have stuck by my side throughout these storms…weathering them alongside me with compassion, encouragement, prayer, and support? Where would I be without the voices who have spoken for me when my own voice was terrified into silence, or simply just ignored by everyone that mattered?
I don’t even want to think about the answer. I’d be homeless or in a bad living situation. I’d have committed suicide in the dark pain of not having anyone understand what I was going through. I’d be without the inherent feeling of safety knowing that I always have a ‘home’ with people who genuinely care for me, even though they aren’t obligated to. I’d be lost, alone, or most likely just dead. I’m not sure if ‘alive’ is the word you’d describe me now, but it would be so much worse without these people and their gifts to me.
And I realize that maybe that isn’t saying a whole lot. Maybe it doesn’t sound like the most overwhelming statement to say “well, I guess I didn’t die this year….” But it IS…because I probably should have. On quite a few occasions, actually. And it’s because of a handful of very specific people that I didn’t. And for them, I have more gratitude than I will ever be able to express in words or deeds.
If you know me at all, you know I’m not the most emotionally expressive person in the world. I feel a lot of things and am even pretty dang good at analyzing them. But they always seem to get shown in ways that don’t get noticed. Even so, for what it’s worth…I genuinely hope these people know the depth to which I feel their actions for me. I hope they know that I carry them in my spirit and it gives me the strength to keep waking up…to keep trying…to (on whatever measly level I can manage) keep hoping. When everything else is just so wrong, there are a few rights that keep me going. And for those, I will always be so thankful. You are God’s gifts to me.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.