For this day, we give thanks

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It’s a bit late for a Thanksgiving post, I know. But such is the life of someone who works 12-hour shifts during weird hours in weird spurts, and the time I wasn’t working, I was too busy experiencing Thanksgiving to write about it.

Oh well. Good things come to those who wait, after all.

My Thanksgiving this year was filled with joy, though not with family. Because of weird work circumstances, we weren’t able to travel this year, and our families couldn’t either, so we got a little creative. (Not that creative, mind you. There was still turkey and dressing and pounds of deliciousness and a good bit of butter, so we didn’t actually stray far from tradition.) No, our creativity came in the form of a family from church who is very dear to us. I’d been asking around, trying to see if there were any other “orphans” this Thanksgiving that could come eat with us so we wouldn’t have a veritable mountain of leftovers (I haven’t the slightest idea of how to do Thanksgiving for two people…) As it turned out, Teresa and Chris and their boys didn’t really have anywhere else to go, either, so we had our own little celebration.

Teresa and I met over lunch, then coffee, then empty coffee mugs to discuss dinner (and in the process talked for three hours about everything BUT food until the very end). It was the first time for both of us not being with some form of family, but honestly, they’re like family to us, so we figured it would be fine (and also drama-free on her side, which was important.)

After a lot of cleaning and cooking, the day finally came. And it went off without a hitch. (Other than maybe an EXCEPTIONALLY long board game, but that’s neither here nor there.)

I have to say, I’m really proud of myself. Not once did I apologize for the state of my house or the state of the turkey (which was really quite delicious) or the state of my bath rug with dirty doggy footprints on it or the state of anything at all. I don’t know about women in other places, but Southern women are notorious for this – apologizing for microscopic dirt or anything else that doesn’t need to be apologized for. (Including non-microscopic dirt, actually, because hello, life.) But I didn’t do it. The words reached the back of my lips more than once, but I held them in, because my house was completely acceptable and I was not there to be impressive. I was there to experience joy and to share in the gratefulness that both our families feel this year.

There is so much to be thankful for.

This year has been strange for me, filled with personal change and unrest and some discomfort, but I can happily say now that here at the end of the year, I think I’ve come out on the other side of all of it. And I am so happy. And so grateful.

I’m grateful for my husband, without whom I wouldn’t really want to do this life thing much at all. Every year we’re married I learn new ways to love him, new things to love about him, and every year he teaches me to love myself a little more, to be a little more patient, to have a little more confidence. He makes my life full and he makes our home happy and I love him so, so much.

I’m grateful for my community. Saint Junia has grown in the space of a year from a church I was in awe of to a family I’m an integral part of, a family whom I love to the moon and back. We are doing wonderful things in this world as the body of Christ, and in that body, I’ve learned so much about my own faith and how I worship. It’s a beautiful thing to behold, watching this church grow and move and act, and I’m so thankful to be a part of it.

I’m thankful for my biological family and for my married-family, both of whom pour out so much love to us, I can’t even explain it. My mom is one of my very best friends, and I don’t know what on earth I would do without her. My dad, though we have our differences (and many of them, sometimes), still manages to meet me and love me where I’m at. My sister, per usual, is a true light in this world – I wish there were more people like her. And my in-laws – oh, my in-laws are the best. (I bet not a lot of you can say that!) They gave their sweat, and probably blood, and maybe even some tears in our backyard over more than one project this summer. (We built a retaining wall. I mean, really.) I have a mother-in-law I can bond with over nursing, a father-in-law who washes the dishes and gives the tightest of hugs, and a brother, which I’ve never had before, who I get to marvel over with each growth spurt (he’s twenty, and I swear he’s STILL growing.)

I’m immeasurably thankful for my new job. I’m thankful for the opportunities it gives me. I’m thankful for my new co-workers, who have been so welcoming and loving and accepting. I’m thankful that after a very short stint on night shift, I only have two shifts until I go to days permanently. I’m thankful for my very dear patients, who are teaching me more about love and life and grace every day I’m there.

I’m thankful for my very best friend in this world, who’s training right now to be a PA. I’m thankful that she gets to share her skills and her mind and her love with this world. It is a better place because she is in it, and I am so, so, SO grateful for God’s grace and mercies and healing and the fact that she is still here. I love her more than words can say.

And – though I’m wrestling with it every day – I’m thankful for my privilege. I hate that I’m thankful for it, I hate that anyone has privilege over anyone else, but I hope desperately that I can use it to spread knowledge to other privileged people about their privilege, and what that means. (And also what it doesn’t mean.) I’m thankful for my friends who are fighting so hard to gain an equal place in this world. I’m thankful for their spirit, I’m thankful for their perseverance and their stamina and rock-hard stubbornness. I am thankful that there are still people who truly want to make the world better.

I’m thankful for our beautiful home, for my ability to keep taking piano lessons month-after-month, for my precious friends who I love so dearly, for our pet-children, for small delights, for words, for beauty. I’m thankful for life and health and food and love.

So this evening and every evening, for last Thursday and this day and every day to follow, I give thanks. From the Book of Common Prayer:

Let us give thanks to God our Father for all his gifts so
freely bestowed upon us.

For the beauty and wonder of your creation, in earth and
sky and sea.
We thank you, Lord.

For all that is gracious in the lives of men and women,
revealing the image of Christ,
We thank you, Lord.

For our daily food and drink, our homes and families, and
our friends,
We thank you, Lord.

For minds to think, and hearts to love, and hands to serve,
We thank you, Lord.

For health and strength to work, and leisure to rest and play,
We thank you, Lord.

For the brave and courageous, who are patient in suffering
and faithful in adversity,
We thank you, Lord.

For all valiant seekers after truth, liberty, and justice,
We thank you, Lord.

For the communion of saints, in all times and places,
We thank you, Lord.

Above all, we give you thanks for the great mercies and
promises given to us in Christ Jesus our Lord;
To him be praise and glory, with you, O Father, and the
Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

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