Thanksgiving is almost upon us. That means…Food!
My family is funny. We know we will probably get together each year, and despite all her complaints, it will probably be at Gram Grams’ house. But we don’t set a time to get together until the day before…
Yet once we all finally make it to the dinner table, we have a wonderful time laughing and sharing. Even though right now I’m super stressed about paying for college, buying presents, and paying tickets (both for travel and a city fine…), the time spent with my family reminds me that life is measured in more than finances. If I lost my job, and lost all my savings, these people would take me in and find a way to live together without completely hating it.
When I really think about it, family is like a group of people who love to fight and love to love at the same time. Pretty weird…
But for Thanksgiving every year, or when we remember to do it, everyone takes a turn to say a couple things they are thankful for. So far, myself and at least one other person usually say mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes *(yuck)*, deviled eggs, or some other food item we spy on the table. But this year, I’m going to think beyond what I see, and look to what happened.
5 things I’m really grateful for:
1. Second chances
A glance back to January and I see a much different person than who I am now. I was unsure of myself, my job, my relationships with my friends, and even my boyfriend.
Even though I was happy with my boyfriend, friends, job, all of it, I felt hollow inside. And kept searching for something more. I ended up watering seeds in the garden that shouldn’t have been planted at all.
But with prayer, time, and lots of patience I found that what was missing had more to do with me than with my boyfriend. I have grown a lot, and he gave me a second (or 17th) chance…
…and I am truly grateful.
2. True friends
During my self-discovery adventure/mistake, my friends were also affected. Since Joel and I have the same friends, I tore our group apart by removing him from the picture. Or at least any picture with me… (We were on a break.) My friends had to decide if they wanted to hang out with me or with Joel, and it was hard to know what to say with either one of us.
After everything burned to the ground, I was scared my friends wouldn’t be able to love or accept me again. I was so confused…And I’d been really stupid.
Sure, families tear apart and family members can also disappear from your life, but friends have a lot more freedom to leave. I wondered if they could ever care about me the same as they did before I messed up.
But true friends forgive, and don’t have to forget. They accepted my mistakes and my apology. So now, we are able to argue about politics, makeup, favorite movies, and tease each other they way best friends usually do.
3. Kind government workers
I mentioned above that one of the reasons I’m so stressed is from paying tickets…I purchased a flight to see my family in Arkansas over Christmas, so that was expensive. But I also got a parking ticket for $50. And since they mailed it to me, by the time I actually found out about it I had an additional $5 late fee…
After waiting on hold for 45 minutes, I finally found out that I needed to go in-person to a magical office made specifically for people who think they shouldn’t have a parking ticket. So early yesterday morning, I coughed up the nerve and met with the “referee.”
You see, I have a long chain of parking tickets. Not speeding tickets or any other kind of ticket. I just don’t see why I can’t park in this perfectly car-sized spot simply because of a metal sign…
However, I paid all of my previous tickets because I knew I deserved them. (Sort of…)
But this time was different.
I was downtown distributing posters for a local art gallery we were having at my work. As I was driving, I saw a coffee shop and thought it was the perfect place to tell people about the event.
Searching for a parking spot downtown is worse than trying to get cats to walk in a single-file line. But there was an spot open! I pulled in and just as I turned off my car I saw the white sign with red text that read “loading and unloading zone.”
“That’s alright. Technically, I AM unloading. And I’ll be real quick.” I thought.
I was quick, but by the time I came out, there was a guy in a bright green vest standing by my car. He didn’t say anything. He never lifted his head. I waited a few seconds, then decided he was busy doing something else on his pad and drove away.
I didn’t know if I had a ticket or not until it arrived in the mail…
So, that morning in the referees office at the municipal court, I pleaded my case. The guy laughed, explained why that did not “technically count as unloading,” and reduced the fine to $10 dollars.
And I was glad to pay it.
4. A job I love at a place I love
A happy side-effect from my earlier adventure/mistake is that my coworkers and I are closer than I ever would have thought possible. Because I thought I was in love with a guy from India, and then realized that nope, we should just be friends, he contacted my boss and co-workers for advice and to vent, and sent them a series of novel-sized emails several times a day. AND in those emails, he told them every single detail of my personal life. Which, as we know, is not perfect and spotless.
To say I was as red as a cherry would be an understatement.
Bosses and their employees usually aren’t THAT close…but now, the people I work with are like my family too. I’m not sure if they ever wanted to be as close as we are, but I’m still thankful for it now.
Every week, I have to turn in 2 papers, 2 discussion posts, 4 replies, and maybe an extra peer-critique or 2 on the side. So I’m very grateful that I can research stem cells or the history of Business, and never change out of my pajamas.
When my dad was in college, he would drive from Colorado all the way to Washington DC (sometimes straight through!) just to use their amazing library.
Now, I can find the same or similar information on the phone in my pocket.
And I’m so grateful.
I’m also grateful for this blog post, and reminding me of what I forgot to be grateful for. Before I start sounding like an actor winning an Emmy, let me encourage you to think all the way back to January.
Is there anything you forgot to feel grateful for?