I am thankful. I am thankful for the earth. The sky. Trees. Flowers. Faith. God’s mercy. Smiles. Hugs.
I am thankful for love.
I am thankful that I have both of my arms and that each of them is fully functioning—and am thankful that I have them so that I can hold the ones I care so deeply for. Thankful for both legs which take me to and fro without leaving me tired or aching. Tremendously thankful to have a brain that functions properly and for the common sense that I picked up on the way to adulthood. [You know, that common sense that has given me the gift of knowing when to advise, comfort or simply just to shut up and listen.]
I am thankful that I can articulate my thoughts and feelings with as little effort as opening my mouth or typing on a keyboard. And even more thankful that what I have to articulate is not regarded as silly or a waste.
I feel blessed to have my hearing. That I have heard children’s laughter in my lifetime, heard their squeals of jubilee, is something I will not take for granted. I’m even thankful to have heard their crying, which somehow reaches down into my heart and pulls at every inch of my soul. Heart wrenching, and yet…still a gift.
I’m thankful for Coldplay. That each of their songs somehow hits my soul in a way that none other could. In fact, I’m thankful for music. I’m thankful for the way it brings people together, makes people jump up and dance. I’m thankful for my ipod and speakers and laptop, which allow me to listen to each glorious note without distortion.
I am thankful that I know what it feels like to wake up in the morning and not have to worry about whether or not I’ll have food in the refrigerator. To know what it tastes like to eat a fresh peach, mom’s chicken Parmigiana or to have the freedom to simply take a spoonful of Nutella and indulge in a moment’s bliss.
I would be graduating from college this year had I not transferred to the program that I now attend in Chicago. I know that God wanted me here for a reason and that I am incredibly blessed to have been given the opportunity to study at such a prestigious program…but I can’t help but feel a little left out as I watch my friends grow up and prepare to enter the world.
It’s bizarre to hear some of them talk about jobs or their ‘fall back’ plans. A couple of them aren’t quite sure what they’re going to do, but feel they have some direction or ideal of where they’d like to start. A few are thinking about Grad school. While others are moving clear across the country to start ‘making connections’. And, believe it or not, quite a few are getting engaged or are in serious relationships that seem to be heading in the direction of marriage—and then there’s me. Sitting at my dining room table at 3:30 in the morning, watching my roommate play video games, with no clue where I’ll be in a week let alone in two years.
What the heck have I been doing with my life?
So I start to panic. I sit and start to think that God has no idea what He’s doing with me. Like, somehow I slipped through the cracks and ended up on this earth when He wasn’t looking and now He’s just trying to figure out a semi-bearable plan for me while He takes care of all of His other, more important, children first. Sure, I’ve got talents and passions and dreams...but all of them have yet to bloom, I haven’t seen my hard work pay off and bear fruit…and what if they never do?!
I am caught in desolation as this new school year approaches.
And He shakes His head so sadly at me when I find myself lost in these dreadful thoughts. He is disappointed that I can’t see all the gifts that He has given me through out my lifetime.
He begs the question, ‘When have I ever given you a reason to doubt me?’
I am thankful for my mom, who is not only my most dear friend, but is also the most beautiful woman, both inside and out, that I have ever known. I am thankful for my dad who loves me so deeply and wants nothing more than to see me smile. And I am thankful for their openness. That they weren’t afraid to let me be me, and to share with me who they are and were. I am thankful for their presence in my life, day in and day out.
Why do I doubt?
I am thankful for my best friend, who has laughed with me, cried with me and fought with me—but has yet to disappear on me. I’m thankful for the many beautiful friends I have collected over the years that are spread across the world, living their own lives, but who so clearly made their marks on my heart.
So few come and don’t go.
I get anxious as I compare my life to those around me. I’m not where the world told me I would be at twenty-one. I should be preparing to graduate. I can’t help but whine—I just want to be like everyone else my age!
But my whining gets me nowhere. My worrying leaves me frazzled. My worries lead to more worries. And my questioning God leaves me feeling empty and unlike myself.
So. Today I am choosing to be thankful. I’m choosing to be aware of all the gifts that He has given to me over the past twenty-one years so that I can be excited for what He’ll bring in years that will, all too soon, follow.
I am thankful for theatre. For acting. Writing. Romance. Kisses. Kittens. Puppies. Sharks. Books. Quotes. Exercise. Gustav Klimt. Fall. Clouds. Sunshine.
I am more than ecstatic to have been given the gift of life itself.
I am thankful for the water. I am thankful for the freedom I feel when I am fully immersed in the cool, refreshing tides of the ocean. I am thankful for the smell of chlorine on my skin after swimming twenty laps, my eyes still in a dreamy daze after staring off into the cool blue haze of the underwater world.
And I am thankful for the stars that glisten in what often feels like an impenetrable darkness. Because their distant glow sets my uneasy mind at rest and leaves my head filled with a thousand hopes for what may be. When they shimmer, it’s easy to imagine them to be ethereal kisses sent from God, as if to confirm that He is thinking about me.
Because He is thinking about me.
I’m so lucky. These next two years are going to be amazing. He told me so.