About every4-5 years I buy a new pair of eyeglasses. I have progressive lenses (a trifocal lens without the lines). In the past, I have looked for the smallest lens my prescription would allow. I picked frames that I thought would be the most practical without being completely boring. Guess which pair I just bought recently? If you can’t guess, it is the robin egg blue pair that are larger than the other two pairs combined.
My family doesn’t know who I am anymore. Seriously. When I showed them the glasses for the first time, my husband and daughter stared open mouthed, only to eventually utter a few unintelligible sounds. When they finally found their words, they both admitted independently that they thought the glasses were pretty hip, and that is what was throwing them off.
I wasn’t offended. I knew they had more personality than what I usually pick. My question was, do they have more personality than me? I’m not threatened by that possibility. But I wanted to know what I was up against. The next day I took the question back to the experts. Yes, they assured me, with time I will be able to live up to my glasses. With practice, with more gregarious hand gestures, with a louder volume, I can OWN these glasses.
And so I’m easing into them. I wear them for a few hours at a time. And just in the house. But soon I’ll venture out with them on. I’ll avoid eye contact with others at first so as to not shake my confidence. I’ll pretend like I was born to wear these glasses until eventually I believe it.
I think this is going to be a good experiment. Maybe these glasses are who I am. I just didn’t know it until now.
I have to admit that it has been a tough few weeks. I am feeling a little lost by what has unfolded and continues to unfold. While I have a lot to say about faith, and in particular Christianity in the context of what I see and hear, I am struck by the need to focus on some positives in my life. Being thankful is a choice that moves me from despair to hope, from anger which can become resentment to anger which fuels leading towards change. I need to reconnect with what is good before I venture into what must be challenged.
Thanksgiving is nearly here, an invitation to spend time being thankful. It is a holiday that invites each one of us to focus on where we might connect with another by what we have in common, versus building walls to keep each other out. And so in that spirit, here is a list of some things for which I am thankful:
- I am thankful for my friends and family who differ from me in color, religion, sexual orientation, and/or socioeconomics. They broaden my perspective and expose my assumptions. They make me a better person of faith.
- I am thankful for the planet. Nature regularly inspires me, recalibrates my perspective, and helps me to shed the layers that insulate me from its creator.
- I am thankful for my work in the hospital. Spending time with people who navigate impossibly difficult situations reminds me of what I tend to take for granted. Life can change in a second, and remembering that helps me to be a little less self-centered.
- I am thankful for my church family who is willing to explore the difficult questions of where is God and what is God up to and how to we participate in that work?
- I am thankful for my pets who are wonderfully uncomplicated and full of affection and love.
- I am thankful for my close friends who remind me regularly to laugh, and join me when I cry.
- I am thankful for my mom who never stops working to be a better mom and friend to me.
- I am thankful for my good health.
- I am thankful for my children who are discovering their purposes in the world. What a gift to see them become engaged, caring, creative human beings.
- I am thankful for a partner who loves me and supports me no matter what. Jeremy, I think I would become a cave dweller if you didn’t regularly help ground me to the here and now. To you I am indebted.
- Finally I am thankful for a God who is bigger than any one political party, country, or person’s understanding.
Finding space for gratitude… The pain, concern, work to done will not be neglected. But in all of what I have been feeling in these last few weeks, I needed to make room for remembering what is good and life-giving too.
Happy thanksgiving to you and yours,