I am thankful for many, many things.
First, and don’t laugh, I’m thankful for Jesus. Grace, mercy, unconditional love and salvation from the mess that is me. Yeah, these are good things. Jesus gives them to me.
Second, I’m thankful for Tyson. He and I have been through the fire. We’ve not emerged unscathed. I’m not sure we’ve emerged. Even so, we, and our relationship, has been refined and tempered. We started out as two very idealistic teenagers. We became two very jaded and lost individuals. We are two strong and determined adults and one amazing team. He’s my best friend which is a big deal for someone who doesn’t make or take friends lightly. He’s not perfect which gives me the freedom of comfort in my own imperfection. He’s not apathetic which gives me the drive to be better. I can’t think of one other person on the face of this planet who is more my complement, and I’ve tried…and I’m smart.
Next, I’m thankful for my children – Blake (our pride), Matt (our joy), and Derrick (our hope). It is without reservation that I say they are literal gifts from God. Though I give them grief on a regular basis (and they return it in kind), I have no misconceptions about what amazing individuals they are. I’m honored to have been given the opportunity to be their mother.
I’m thankful for my parents. All of them. My mom has given me a love of learning and an aptitude toward discovery. She taught me about process and empathy. She’s a broken person who has passed on her brokenness in a way that both grieves and polishes her children. Without her strangeness, we (I) would not have our strangeness and we’d be worse for the lacking. My dad taught me about passion and joy in beauty. He taught me about the art of failure and power of the extreme. He passed on a childlike wonder that has both devastated and redeemed his children. Without his valleys and mountaintops, we wouldn’t have our scars of disillusionment or the wrinkles that come from years of laughter and smiling. My foster mom has given me an appreciation for the traditional. She gave me security and hope when both were too expensive for my limited means. She encircled me with love when all I found was condemnation. She accepted me when I was unacceptable. I am blessed to have been her daughter for awhile. My foster dad taught me that men could be gentle and trusted. They could be reliable and nurturing. He taught me that I didn’t have to expect or accept less than anyone else. He treated me like a regular teenager instead of a broken, used up, burned out wreck. My mother-in-law has taught me both the pros and cons of unmitigated devotion to the role of mother. She’s modeled what it means to respect the image even when the reality is somewhat different. She’s taught me about sacrifice and pride and optimism in the face of uncertainty. She has taught me about the strength in the loneliness and hope in despair. My father-in-law has taught me about fun and the relief of friendliness. Maybe those seem small, but someone who is naturally dour, his lightness has been refreshing and comforting during times when all seemed dark and suffocating.
I’m thankful for my friends – both near and far; old and new. I’m specifically thankful for Karen, Cathy, Tricia, Debbie and Yvonne. I’m not sure if we’re an unlikely group or not. I love our diversity and our ability to exhibit care and acceptance in the face of so many differences. I’m thankful for Heather and Alexis and the genuine friendship that’s grown out of our professional lives into something deeper. I’m thankful for Kathy – my dear friend from high school – the one that, without knowing it, brought me back into the role of “high school student” and helped me escape my self-imposed prison of “pregnant high school drop-out.”
I’m thankful for my congregation at Hanna’s Creek Christian Church. It seems like I “grew up” there even though I didn’t grow up there. There are so many friends and loved ones in that family that I sincerely have no capacity to begin naming names. There are too many.
I’m thankful for those people that may not be inner circle friends but who are important to me nonetheless. People I’ve loved through the years. People I’ve lost.
I’m thankful for my Grandpa Rit and Grandma Ritmanich (do NOT call her Grandma Rit). They were the saving grace for a group of children whose parents were rich in talent and personality and poor in protecting their children from a hostile world.
I’m thankful for my job and all the people who helped me get it and all the people who help me stay in it. I would have NEVER anticipated being a librarian. It’s the perfect place for me right now.
I’m thankful for the internet. It sounds shallow, but the internet has allowed me to connect with people I’d have never known and would have only known briefly. It’s allowed me to vent in a way that, if done in real life, would have led to prison time or institutionalization. It’s allowed me to be creative when I didn’t have the money for art supplies. It’s allowed me to learn when I didn’t have the time or money to go to school. It’s let me read when I didn’t have a car to get to the library (nevermind afford a book). It’s allowed me to say how thankful I am in such a public way.
I’m thankful for a home. I’m thankful for my communities. I’m thankful for the opportunity to travel or for the senses to interact with this magnificent world.
I’m thankful for the argument that stretches and offends and changes. I’m thankful for the unknown that worries and scares and demands a reconciliation.
I’m thankful to be alive no matter how awful the living can be at times. I’m thankful for sorrow. I’m thankful for pain. I’m thankful for insecurity.
And thank you….for reading.