Being Thankful

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?
  5. I am thankful for my pets who are wonderfully uncomplicated and full of affection and love.
  6. I am thankful for my close friends who remind me regularly to laugh, and join me when I cry.
  7. I am thankful for my mom who never stops working to be a better mom and friend to me.
  8. I am thankful for my good health.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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,

Jennifer