This is a wreath I made with 7 neighborhood friends a few weeks ago. ("Made" is really stretching it. I made the felt flowers glued onto it. But you get the picture.) I love it hanging in my entryway because it reminds me of dangerous hot glue guns, hot cider and rum, and all the silliness of that night.
And it reminds me that I'm not alone. Anyone observing my life would think, "She is most definitely NOT alone." Two beautiful children, an incredible husband, grandparents a few minutes away, lots of friendly neighbors, close friends. And they would be right. My life is full of love and connection, and I have been doggedly intentional about that even from a young age. (Isn't it funny how we are who we're going to be?)
But don't you wake up in the morning sometimes feeling heavy? Feeling overwhelmed? Knowing that ultimately, the days' tasks, obligations, and sadnesses are only yours to bear? That even the connections you treasure so much have to-do lists associated with them? And that there is definitely not enough lunch meat to pack the morning's lunches (the days of peanut butter sandwiches in elementary schools are over--allergies) and you're going to have to get all creative and produce some kind of sandwich the kids will leave untouched. (This might be the worst of all. Even though I love food, I loathe packing lunches.)
There's been so much buzz about gratitude lately, and I'm happy for that. (I did laugh at the meme going around FB that said something like, "November. The month where everyone who normally posts complaints starts being grateful.") But here's what I know:
Gratitude is about survival.
There's no other way, no matter how poor or privileged you are. to make it through this world.
I cried reading news from the Philippines where one woman said, "At least I am still alive. I am grateful for that. It could have been worse." Could have been worse?! Did you see those photos? I want to fly over there and take gratitude lessons from that woman.
Gratitude is not about cute little Pinterest projects that creatively display all the things you have to be thankful for. (Though yes, they are cute. And keep doing them.) It's really about having eyes to see the absolute riot of abundance that's begging for us to notice it. My pastor challenged us to be grateful for 100 things every day, as his very spiritually astute friend does. ONE HUNDRED?? I'll get started here, and Happy Thanksgiving to you, my beautiful readers.
Thank you, universe, for this roof over my head. Thank you for the firestation where Yancey is working this Thanksgiving day and the people that will get his help and kindness. Thank you for my children, who came from my body and are becoming so distinct from me. Thank you for eyeglasses, medicine in the medicine cabinet, and water that comes from the faucets at the turn of a knob. Thank you for Christmas music and the freedom I allow myself to start listening to it November 1st. (Sorry, Wyatt.) Thank you for salt and all things salty--pickles, olives, capers, proscuitto, bacon. Thank you for my body that serves me every day. Thank you for my parents, my sister, my in-laws, my nieces and nephew. Thank you for Emily and Jordan and their visit last weekend. Thank you for Aimee, Amity, Mary, Sue, and Jenn. Thank you for Jen, Megan, JoElla, Breeze, Elizabeth, Joy, Michelle, Kristy, Kristen, Stacy, Molly, Liz, Kate, Cameo, Amber, Teri, Kelly, Amy, and even more.
Thank you for my life. And eyes to see it. Amen.