It’s that time of year …

when folks start taking stock of their lives and thinking about the things they are thankful for.  There isn’t enough room on this blog to even begin to list all that I am thankful for, but find that I want, more than anything, to list at least a few.  There are, of course, the obvious; food, clothing, shelter, job, family – all the basics covered in one sentence, but what about the other entities and experiences?  The bounties that I sometimes forget to mention because I’m too busy or preoccupied to remember to be thankful for;  like music, silence, blue skies, white clouds, whispering oceans, warm sunshine, rustling leaves, winding mountain roads, bare trees, songs to sing, long, engaging, thought-provoking conversations, dancing to rhythms in my head and a myriad of other blessings that, for the moment, escape my memory.

As I write this, my mind wanders to some of the places I’ve been over the past year.  Not just physically, such as my favored falls or the rocks on top of the mountain, but where I have been spiritually, through the infinite grace and bountiful blessings of my Father God; the ministry He has given me through greeting cards and the ability to string words together and the counsel I have been able to share because of the trials and joys I have experienced.  I have met many new people, seen many new faces and heard much new music that has left me richer and more empowered than I was before.  While that is often the way it is with time and change, there are moments, spaces of time that span a few weeks to a few months that have changed my life, in one way or another, irrevocably.

Not all of the experiences have  been good ones, but I am thankful for them anyway as the lessons I learned from them were invaluable.  At the time, I suppose some of them seemed more like punishment than teaching, but as time passed and wisdom took the place of uncertainty, the evidence of growth was prominent.  The beauty of wisdom and strength as they become more clear in my mind and heart help me to understand that each experience, good or bad, is not coincidental, but a piece in a puzzle that never seems to be fully completed.  I find that stimulating conversation with a like mind is just as compelling to me as sitting alone finding notes on my keyboard as I work to learn to play the music that forms the words that, though I often cannot voice, I cherish nonetheless.

I have reconnected with some old friends, those that I had, for one reason or another, lost touch with.  It’s funny, somehow, that as an adult, the friendships that were forgotten or simply ignored over the years have rekindled and have more depth and meaning than I would have ever found in my youth.  I have found new friends, some that have moved me beyond any words that I could ever find the ability to express.  A connection that is not of the world that I live and work in every day, but is of something else altogether.  A pairing of minds, thoughts and ideas that would, if not for divine intervention, have been missed altogether.

It isn’t easy being different in an unusual sort of way from nearly everyone else I know and rekindling the connections to the artists and musicians from my past has encouraged me and made me feel a part of something that I have missed for way too long.  In the midst of what was already a part of me are the new friendships, those that fell, practically from the sky;  new friends on the surface, but in my heart and soul, are as old as time itself.  Finding familiarity in the unknown is exciting and exhilarating; not to mention a balm to the spirit.

My family has survived one attack after another this year and each one has, in its own way, brought us closer together, making us realize how important each of our unique qualities are in forging the dynamics of lasting bonds that cannot be broken.  As always, during this time of celebration and family get-togethers, the loved ones who have passed from this world are brought to the front of my mind and their wisdom and guidance, love and security, words and ideas fill me up.  It isn’t with sadness that I think of them, but of longing that I can’t sit down with them for a bit and ask the questions that I wish I had asked while they were living.  It never occurred to me, not in a realistic kind of way, that there wouldn’t be time to ask, to know and to find.  Along the same lines, I think of the questions and thoughts I share with my friends, the ones who seem to understand the very core of my being without explanation.  There is more power in that than could ever be described in words.

Yes, on this eve of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for many things, but most of all, I am thankful that I am child of God and that He loves me enough to give me everything I need and much of what I want simply because He loves me.  Yes, I am thankful, not just today, but everyday, for this beautiful life that I have been given and the growing realization that it is a privilege to be a part of a world that keeps on turning day after day after day.

To all my friends and all my family I wish you a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving.  I am blessed beyond measure and what you add to my life is a very big part of that blessing.  My wish is for your lives to be filled with awe, wonder, happiness and joy.  Yes, my blessings are too numerous to count, and for each one, I am thankful.

“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so; little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong”

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