November 26, 2009

Maybe It's Me: Gratitude, or, The Sweetness of Life

I am thankful.

For still being able to climb apple trees.

For polar bears.

For the smell of the ocean.

For music that makes me cry and written works that stir my soul.

For French-press coffee.

I am thankful.

For being healthy . . .

. . . for being healthy enough.

I am thankful.

For the great state in which I live in and have specifically come back to and for time after time. I will never not be mesmerized by the beauty of autumn here – the way the trees ignite with color; I will never not be hypnotized by the first snow fall – the way it looks like a thousand tiny cold diamonds blanketing our pine trees.

For proving that I didn’t need a degree to be successful.

For living my dream of being an author.

For being able to pay my bills!

For living in a country where I can practice my religion, eat or not eat whatever I choose, wear whatever I want, think however I want, and thrive as an opinionated independent woman without fear of persecution.

I am thankful.

For my estranged dad who, although we’ve now parted ways after years of struggling to understand each other or even just see eye-to eye, permitted me to be the eccentric tomboy I was while growing up. For encouraging my mom to raise us in a liberal, worldy, socially conscious manner. And who, over the course of our time together, taught me some ridiculous things.

For my sister, who at some point in time crossed the line from just being a sibling to being a best friend, too. And who better to call a friend than her? She knew me when I was four, when I was fourteen, when I was twenty-four. And through all those life changes, she was right there. She is the only other person to go through most of when I went through, the one other person who knows every part of the comedy and tragedy that made up our family life.

For my mom. Always and forever, for my mom. The strongest, most courageous, most benevolent woman I know. She is the biggest champion of my cause, and the person who loves and appreciates every quirk about me the most. She has and always will bath me in her love and support. As I look on towards my impending adulthood my only hope is that I can be half the woman, mother, wife, and Child of God she is.

For my step-parents. I don’t tell them enough how much I appreciate them. They make my parents happy, and that is ultimately the number one most important thing to me: the people I love and their happiness. And while they don’t have to, I appreciate their involvement in my life. They have their own children, they don’t need to remember little things about me, like how I take my coffee or how I get cranky when I haven’t slept, but they do. They are kind and lovely people.

I am thankful.

For my pet which, despite my occasional annoyance for his troublesome bunny ways, has become quite the companion. It’s oddly comforting to come home to a large empty flat and find this very small curious creature enthusiastically waiting for me. For me! And to be able to keep him and continue to care for him and his well-being, especially in an economy where daily people are giving up their small critter friends because they simply can’t afford them, warms my heart.

For friends far and close, the ones who touched my life very briefly yet altered it forever, and the ones who are in it for the long haul and cherish every moment whether remarkable or unimpressively trivial. They’ve supported my every endeavor, encouraged me to jump, kept me humble, and loved me unconditionally in spite of my awful self sometimes.

For the memories I have of the people I don’t.

Life and the living of it is imperfect and at times, downright difficult. I think we all need to take a deep breath and acknowledge that in that imperfection there is tremendous beauty. And maybe it’s me, but it seems terribly important as individuals and as a community of people that, even if only once a year, we take the time, we allow ourselves, to simply let our hearts overflow with gratitude and appreciation for everything, for all the things, big and small, that make living life wonderful and worthwhile.

I am thankful.