Wednesday, November 25, 2015
The word "thankful" doesn't even begin to cover it. Let's flash back to Thanksgiving week 2009. I was drowning in grad school work and trying to get the hang of teaching. I had about 9 roommates in an old convent on Chicago's south side where I lived with other teachers in my grad program. There was a lot going on and I lot of adjustments I had made in the few months since I had graduated from Gonzaga. The very day I was going to fly home to Utah for Thanksgiving, my car got broken into at my house (it was broken into just 3 weeks prior at school. There they stole my GPS. This time it was my stereo). I called work in a panic, hoping to make it in time for our Thanksgiving feast I had planned with my class. I drove to the other side of town in the snow and got my shattered window replaced and made it to school just in time for the feast and made my flight that afternoon. I distinctly remember exhaling with gratitude as the plane took off...leaving the craziness behind and going home. Life is not as chaotic now as it was then. There's still to do lists and the stresses of life, but holidays used to make me anxious. Anyone who has lived away from home might know what I mean. It's like you have two lives and you return home to your old high school bedroom for short bursts and get comfortable and cozy and before you know it, time speeds up and you're on the plane headed back to your "other life," whether it be at college or for your life that you've established not near home. There was so much to pack in and do and experience while you were "home" and there was pressure for it to feel perfect and just right. Nah, not anymore. I realize this sounds cheeseball, but once you adopt a life of gratitude, Thanksgiving isn't merely a day to celebrate all you're thankful for, it's a day to celebrate that you HAVE been giving thanks for a whole year and are about to embark on that journey again. It's not a meal, or Black Friday shopping, a beautifully decorated table, or even a trip home, away from the stresses of "normal" life. Thanksgiving is a way of life. And oh yes, I am thankful beyond measure for my husband, my family, our new house (!), my job teaching, health, freedom, friends, and love. But I'm also thankful for the hard times, the stressful times, the less than perfect times. Those times make the 2015 Leslie even more thankful and joyful. Let's raise our glasses to another year in the business of gratitude and for the realization that life is so very sweet when we pause and say thanks.