Thanksgiving has historically been one of my least favorite Holidays – it’s always seemed silly to me to gather round a table full of butter, bread, casseroles, and turkey and celebrate being thankful. I truly believe that we should skip the extravagant food display and just be thankful and count our blessings EVERY single day. After all, I don’t know about you – but my blessings abound in every area of my life day in and day out, whether I choose to open up my eyes and heart to them or not.
This year, however, thanksgiving feels a little bit different. In a good way. The table full of carbs, butter, gravy, fatty meat, fancy desserts, etc, although anxiety provoking, is not quite as terrifying as it used to be. Not to mention, that I am in a completely different place – in all areas of my life.
I am 21, living on my own in a state that sometimes feels as though it’s halfway across the world from my home state. This year, my family came to visit ME, in my home, and we are creating new traditions that are so much different from the broken ones back in VA. It’s weird. It’s different. It’s new. It’s…a blessing.
I would sit here and list out everything I’m thankful for and all the blessings surrounding me…but this post would NEVER end and I’m afraid you would all get horribly bored. So I will (try to) keep it as brief as possible.
Here are just a few things I’m thankful for:
1. I’m thankful to be alive. Because at this time 2 years ago, it was looking as though that might be my last holiday season due to being so horribly sick. But here I am. Praise God for His healing and restoration in my life!
2. Speaking of “here I am”…HERE I AM! In Ann Arbor, Michigan – studying music at my dream school with AMAZING musicians and friends. I worked my butt off and somehow managed to make it here. I have a phenomenally talented, kind, caring, compassionate teacher who genuinely cares for me as a musician, but more importantly as an individual. He supports my endeavors in ALL areas of my life and has been such a source of inspiration and light. The musicians surrounding me – peers, staff, professors, etc are all absolutely amazing. And the best part is that everyone is so talented and passionate, but also so kind and (for the most part) humble and welcoming!
3. Another aspect of being here that has been a gift from God is the people I have met outside of school through church and the community, etc. It is seriously such a God thing to have crossed paths with people who are so much like me in their struggles and life experience – people who I can relate to on a deeper level and who have opened their arms and their homes and their hearts to me and welcomed me in – tears, breakdowns, uncontrollable laughter, and all. God is good – but that’s no surprise!
4. My family – of course. This is SUCH a touchy subject and those of you who know me well, know why. I won’t go into very much detail here, but my family has been a source of extreme conflict and heartache – and honestly, some of them still are at different points. However, throughout all of the transitions, changes, challenges, triumphs, etc that have occurred, not just in the past 4 months, but over the past 3 years – my beautiful parents have been by my side the entire way. They have supported me emotionally, physically, financially, and basically in every area of my life. Their support has meant the world to me, and although things at home aren’t always great – I know that they will ALWAYS have my back and I am SO fortunate to have such a good relationship with BOTH of my parents, despite other family members. So many people aren’t fortunate enough to have both of their parents be as supportive and loving as mine are and I know that I am so blessed and I can’t even put into words how thankful I am to my parents. They have made it possible for my dreams to be put into action and aided me in the pursuit of them.
5. So, I’ve had some struggles in piecing together a medical team here in Ann Arbor. Many of you have heard some very humorous stories about a few of the individual whose paths I’ve crossed who have referred to themselves as “professionals”…although, I have to disagree in a few cases. However, at this point I have (finally) found a dietitian who seems to be able to provide me with exactly what I need and is supportive of my musical goals and understands the reasons that I am in Ann Arbor studying music. I have also found a psychiatrist who (I have only seen once) seems to be very knowledgable and kind. And through all of this, my medical team back home has remained constant, supportive, loving, and…honestly, inspiring. My dietitian back home has shown support and interest in my success here at school and remaining in touch – it’s been nice to not feel as though it’s “out of sight, out of mind.” And don’t even get me started on my therapist from home – we’ve continued doing sessions until I find someone here who is a good fit. That woman is a gift from God and my favorite part about working with her is that she never hesitates to call me out whenever my mind and heart start straying in the wrong direction – she quickly pulls me back in the absolute best way (and the only unfailable way) possible – with scripture and the words and the truth of God. Nothing is better than that. And nothing is more grounding, more solid, than the rock that is Jesus Christ. I am blessed. I can not put into words how much it means to me to have someone who is always on my side, who directs me and leads me with words that aren’t even their own – but those of my God; to have an individual who inspires me to dig deeper in my faith and challenge myself each and every day.
I’m thankful for a God who NEVER fails, never gives up on me, never stops loving me, never ceases to bless me, amaze me, and teach me.
I’m thankful for sunrises and sunsets, stars in the night sky, seeing my breath when it’s chilly.
I’m thankful for smiles, hugs, unconditional love.
Coffee, fuzzy socks, my sweet little puppy.
Family, friends, music.
Health, recovery, healing, restoration.
I’m thankful for this life. And a few years ago that’s not something I was able to say. Not every day is great – I still struggle more often than I would like, but I am finally healing. I am finally becoming the person God has planned for me to be. And I am thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Have a blessed, safe, cozy, and fun-filled day!
These are a few of my favorite things ^^^
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” —”
― William Arthur Ward