With Thanksgiving only a few days away and seeing so many posts on Facebook and WordPress I have this need to join the crowd.
What am I thankful for? And why is it only during this time of year where we take the time to sit and contemplate the gifts and blessings we have? Why is it always health, family, job, and finances that seem to make the top five in some order or variation? Cookie cutter responses with not much thought put into it. Socially acceptable answers. Safe answers.
Even though it’s hard for me to keep perspective sometimes, even though I complain more often than I should, I am grateful for so much in my life. For the people, for the experiences I have had, for the challenges I have faced and overcome.
I am grateful for silly things like the wind on my back as I bike because I know what it feels like to have to bike against it. I’m grateful for warm blankets fresh out of the dryer, draped over me while I sleep curled up in bed. I’m grateful for the patience and understanding I am given when I’m being mildly to severally irrational. I am grateful for goofy conversations and teasing insults that end with “your face”.
I am grateful for the acceptance I have found. I am grateful for having a place that I can once again think of as home. I am grateful for the changes at work, which helps prevent the burnout I was suffering through for so long.
I am grateful for my dedication and determination with my race. I am grateful for my resourcefulness and how I bike to work now. I wish I had started so much sooner with it. I wonder how it would have altered things if I had.
I don’t know how else to say it. Those words feel so hallow and empty, as if they can’t hold the emotion that I feel. When I think of my life, of my mom, my brothers, of Zane, and Mother Earth, of Clavan, of where I have been in my life and situations I have gone through, I am filled with this feeling, this sensation.
It’s a welling, like water, filled with the warmth of caring, loving, accepting. It gently fills and saturates everything within my life, every corner of my mind, every memory my thoughts wander over. Every minor and major thing alike. Nothing is left untouched by this feeling, by this gratefulness.
Pictures given to me by my mom. Printed papers that I have saved, tacked up on my corkboard. New papers with spiffy certifications inked onto them. Shoes that are just past the stages of being broken in from recent runs. The bruises on my shines from hitting them against the bike pedals.
There are so many things that I think of when I think about “gratefulness”. And I don’t know how to communicate it, articulate it. I can’t put every day, every action, into words, even though this blog is an attempt at that. A record of events which help to shape and mold me.
I’m grateful for breathing, for living, for still being here and able to fight the good fight. I’m grateful for my ambition, for my goals, for my dreams. I’m grateful for the love I have in my life. I’m grateful that I have people who understand me and let me be me in all of my weird quirkiness. I am grateful that people put up with me and give me space when I need it without taking my withdrawal as a personal offense. I am grateful that I feel like I have seriously begun to find myself and stand proudly, owning up to who I am and who I’m becoming.
I’m grateful for life. All of it, good and bad alike. And this feeling feels so genuine, so intense, so real, that it stings my eyes with tears. How can you say I’m grateful and have it be enough?
How can I tell my mom I am grateful for her, for her love, for her influence, for the time and effort she put into me? How can I simply say words and ever have it mean enough, be enough? How can I tell her I love her and have those words hold all of the depth and vastness that I feel inside?
How can I tell Zane I am grateful for him and have him understand that we walked through hell together and are now through the darkness? That if he hadn’t be there with me, helping me, holding my hand while I faced the horrible nightmare I had created in my head that I don’t know if I would be here still? How do you tell someone, “Thank you for saving me?” and convey everything those words personally mean to you?
I don’t think there is a way. I think gratefulness in an internal feeling, in a way a lonely feeling. The people in my life will never know the depth at which I care for them. They may guess at it. May, in a way, empathize with it, but there is no way for them to truly know the sensation of my feelings, and in a way that makes it painful.
I feel for them so much, and yet I have no way of communicating that to them. No words, no actions could ever be enough. At least not in my mind. They have done so much for me, and they most likely don’t even know it. Simply being there, listening to me, giving me a hug, smiling and sharing in a funny story, all of our inside jokes and special moments. They’re precious to me. Priceless. Irreplaceable. And I cherish all of them. Every second, even if it seems like I’m not sometimes, I am grateful for.
I am grateful, for everything, and I wish with every fiber of my being that there was another way I could express those feelings. Something which would pour all of that warmth and love from my soul onto a canvas for others to see, taste, touch, feel, experience. Some way for it to flow from me, through them. Some way for it to wrap around them and keep them safe, protected. A shield to stand against the injustices I don’t want them to face. The harshness and trials of life which will test them. Make them question and doubt and worry. Stress and fret.
I want to be the gentleness which whispers softly thought their mind as they drift to sleep, assuring them the monsters won’t bother them because I will scare them off.
And that is the best I can do to show my gratefulness, to pass that feeling from myself to them. I can’t prevent the monsters from coming. I can’t stop them from existing and being real. But when they come I can be there. I can stand beside the people I care about and I can help them fight, just like when they stand beside me, giving me courage and strength. I can stand beside the people I love and ensure their victory when things seem dark and overwhelming and hopefully that in some small way shows that I care, that I love, and that I am grateful.
From the bottom of my very soul, I am grateful.