|They're home. They're raking. Life is good.|
Yesterday at WalMart three different people greeted me this way:
“It’s almost your favorite day of the year!”
And they were right. Thanksgiving is the best holiday, my favorite on-the-calendar rotation of the earth. But it occurred to me that I’ve never said in this space specifically what I’m thankful for in any given year. This year I am remedying that situation.
This year I’m thankful life still has the capacity to surprise me.
Think about it for a moment. What most of us assume we want in life is predictability, that we will accomplish the age-appropriate milestones without drama, that we will finish our education and find good mates and good jobs, that we will have happy families and move into retirement and die in our sleep.
This year life has surprised me. The railway of life between “good job” and “move into retirement” took a completely unexpected and spectacular detour just when the station was coming in sight. I spent the summer saying “I’m okay—I’m okay—I’m okay” to everyone who asked, but really, I wasn’t.
Looking back, I was demoralized and humiliated and depressed. And the worst part was that the change in the route seemed to have taken my words away: My writing mojo was gone.
Today, though, I’ve climbed out of that pile of rubble and guess what? I’m okay.
I’m better than okay. I’m writing again, and thinking “Oh, I need to blog that” when something makes me laugh. I’m sleeping well. I’m basking in being able to watch leaves turn outside the window of my home office. I love the college class I’m teaching, and the free-lance work I’m doing for other publications. My kitchen floors are clean. (Yes, that’s a big deal.) My children are all here for Thanksgiving, and I am verklempt with joy.
I look with grateful amazement at the people who pulled me back onto the track: My family (who not only loved and comforted me, but continue to serve as my anger surrogates because I can’t heal myself while I’m angry), my friends (who know me and pray), dozens of Small Towners (who hugged me and were indignant), my readers (who encourage me every time I post).
This is not the way I would have planned for this year to go, this interruption in the plan, but this is life. Life still has the capacity to surprise me, and life’s blessings can come out of letting go of the plan.
For this, Dear God, I am thankful.