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Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Heart Shaped Pebble in a Parking Lot Full of Rocks

November and December are, by their very definition, months of reflection.

We're meant to ponder what we're thankful for-focus on what the holidays are truly about. We're meant to embrace kindness and love, and to tap into that thing that for most of the year, remains elusive-our own humanity.

But sometimes it harder than it should be.

Sometimes we remember that November is the month that our father died-that this is the first holiday season without our figurehead, our clan leader, our reason for celebrating in the first place.

Instead we as a culture declare the day after we're supposed to be our most thankful, Black Friday, and we start the first day of the Christmas season by celebrating commercialism instead. We want more for less and we want to be first in line, no matter how nasty and mean it may make us.

When my father died, nine years ago this month, it was hard to remember that the holidays weren't just about food, football, and shopping, but he managed to show us, and he continues to show us that we aren't alone. We can't hear his laugh or watch his belly shake like the famous fat man himself. We can't hug him or be encouraged by him (or enraged at him either.) We can't watch a grown man brought to tears by the reading of the Christmas story on Christmas Eve, but in his own way he lets us know he's near.

He sends us hearts.

Hearts in the oddest places. Our pancakes come out heart shaped or the reflection from sunlight hitting a piece of glass will show up on the wall in the shape of a heart. We'll see heart shaped knots of wood in furniture and in trees, in potato chips and the pepperoni on our pizza.

The last few months for me have felt like I tripped into an open grave, in the rain. I keep trying to climb out of the pit I've admittedly dug for myself, and the walls turn to mud in my hands. It seems like everytime I make a little progress I slip back down again.

I've been pretty discouraged. I've complained about my job, I've complained about my life. I've complained about missed oppurtunities, even as I stand on the corner and wave as they pass me by.

But it's days like today, a day as normal and bland as any other, where I cleaned my house with my husband and we played with our son, to remind me that it's not always the big moments, it's not always the weddings and births and celebrations that matter.

Sometimes it's just a hand to hold- a shoulder to lean on- a smile from a stranger- that's what we live for-that makes life living.

So here's what I'm I'm thankful for this holiday season.

I'm thankful for a good book.

A well written poem.

I'm thankful that I'm a woman. Because being a woman sometimes means that you're sick for months at a time and tired and cranky and tearful and sometimes whiny. But I'm thankful that I'm a woman because it means I'm strong enough to create life- and then nurture that life with love and laughter.

I'm thankful that I have a home and that it's more than just brick and mortar.

I'm thankful for friends and family- even the ones who aren't here physically but whose spirit does surround us. Even if somedays their spirit isn't enough, I'm thankful that today it is.

I'm thankful for heart shaped pebbles in a parking lot full of rocks and red birds that sit in your driveway and wait patiently while you scurry around her in preparation for a funeral.

And above all else- I'm thankful for oppurtunity (and for those who give their lives for us to take it.)

I'm thankful for an unspoken thought that suddenly becomes a dream, that a dream can take root and become reality, and that that possibility -even if it remains unfullfilled-means that there is never too far to fall before you pick yourself up again and move forward.

I'm thankful that there is no better time than the closing of one year, to remind us that there is always a new beginning, a new chapter, a new oppurtunity to be human, to be happy, and to be thankful.

3 comments:

James said...

I'm so thankful to have you. I love you so much.

Crystal Phares said...

I'm thankful for you, too. You make me remember what I want out of life. And as I sit here crying over your post, I remember what a wonderful friend you are and how you have touched my life. Thank you for that.

Travis Erwin said...

I'm thankful you have gotten back to blogging at least occasionally.