Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Weight of Gratitude

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, so here are some of my (rambly, convoluted) thoughts in honor of the day...
A friend recently brought to my attention this old journal entry:
May 21, 2006 – I had a dream last night in which Greg and I had a baby.  A girl.  She was so sweet, and so small, and I couldn’t help but hold her in my arms and talk to her.  I told her all about how her father and I had wanted her and tried to get her here, and how much we both loved her and would do anything in the world for her.  She was beautiful and warm, and I woke up feeling as though I had lost a part of myself.  I haven’t been able to shake that feeling all day long. 
I truly thank God every day for my daughter, and for the life that Greg and I get to share with her.  Sometimes (like when I go to pick her up after work and she wraps herself around me, or when she is playing with her father and they fill the house with laughter) I feel gratitude swell up in my chest, like it could squeeze the air right out of me.  It literally takes my breath away.   
I have met several people through the years who seemed blind to the blessings in their lives.  I'm glad that I am aware of mine, and I thank my parents for this.  My birth mother didn't have a lot of resources, emotional or otherwise, but she did her best to teach me to appreciate what I had.  (I remember one specific time when I was 7 and my favorite band was Def Leppard.  Their drummer had just returned to touring after losing an arm, and she asked me to sweep the kitchen floor with only one arm, just to see a little bit of what his life must be like.) 
My adoptive parents, whose parenting methods were a little more orthodox, also taught me to be thankful.  I remember my dad's many prayers of thanksgiving, around the table, or at church, or just during family prayer.  Mom was (and is) especially good at appreciating the positives of a situation and not ignoring the negatives, but acknowledging them and seeing around them.  
And so I'm thankful.  For my husband and my daughter; for my mom, who did the best she could for me; for my parents and family and the lessons they've all taught me; for friends near and far, new and old; for those moments when the goodness of God seems overwhelming; and for Jesus, God's son, in whom all of this (and so much more) is held together.

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