Friday, November 4, 2011

Thanks - for ties that bind

I was hoping for something really super with which to finish my 14 days of gratitude.  Nothing seemed to be popping out to me ... until I got a text from a family member and we set up a time to talk on the phone.  I spent over an hour with this person and we had an amazing chat, ranging from past experiences to present concerns and future plans.  

So here's to the ties that bind.  

I've heard it said that friends are God's way of apologizing to you for your family.  In a lot of cases, friendship trumps family relationships because there's so much baggage attached to the latter.  Occasionally, though, a friendship emerges unexpectedly from family ties and that makes the bond even more strong.  And sometimes a friendship is so strong that it feels like what we think that family SHOULD be (but often isn't).  For both types and more, I am grateful.  

For the brother who stood by me when I was hurting, and was ready to risk jail to defend my honour (I had to physically restrain him!) I say thank you.  For the opportunity to hold that same brother up when he was at the breaking point - at our father's graveside - I am grateful and do not regret one tear that I (or he) shed.  For the easy rapport we have developed over the years and in spite of many obstacles, because we each understand the other's history and share the same upbringing, and because we give each other the affirmation that we are worth more than what others thought we were then or think we are now, I am thankful.  

For the friends who came into my life when I was a teen, who loved me in spite of what I was then, who stuck with me through all the hell I went through trying to find my way in the world, who became as dear as family to me, I am grateful.  Those same people - though the rest of the community did not understand - earned the right to sit with us as family mourners when our dad passed away.  As we sat with them when they had to bury a daughter, stolen from them too soon. For the countless hours spent making music together, for the family vacations spent with each other, for the titles of sister and aunt that were conferred upon me, of brother and uncle that were also given to my husband, I am grateful.  

For those who have come into my life during my journey of healing, who have accepted me as I am and who have cheered me on, rooted for me in my journey, I am so grateful.  These are people who are not on pedestals towering over my head to be worshipped, nor are they subordinates who look up to me for approval. They treat me as equals and I them.  I value their presence and their friendship on my journey.  They have encouraged and challenged me, and I have been there for them when they needed me as well.  For these people, I am grateful.

Found through Google Images at:
For my husband: my best friend, my completion, my advocate, my lover, my confidant, my soul-mate - and more - I cannot be thankful enough.  This man has seen me at my best; he has also seen me at my worst.  And he has loved me through all of it.  Rarely in this society does one get to marry his or her best friend.  I know that I am so fortunate to have married mine.  What a wonderful gift - in all its facets: to be chosen for such a person as this.  I am in awe.  

For the person who mentored me through my transformation, who kept me focused and never once allowed me to make my recovery about anyone else except myself - I am grateful.  This person accepted me for the me I really was - the one who was hidden beneath layer after layer of pain and self-doubt.  Having been where I was at one time, my mentor guided me in a path that would result in healing from those past hurts and liberation from the invisible chains that, just like in the story of the elephant tied to a post whose chains were removed and he stayed by the post, kept me bound to my old patterns of believing, thinking and behaving for many years.  I am so grateful that someone cared enough and had the required skill to be able to do that when I was ready.  

I am thankful for my pastor.  Surprisingly few would be able to say that about a spiritual leader; some would mistrust theirs (and with good reason in some cases).  However, my pastor has made no pretense of being better than anyone, more holy than anyone, and has loved me through thick and thin, supported me and prayed for me, and for this and for so much more, I am truly grateful.  He has not once shamed me into anything, but has encouraged me and shared his enthusiasm without shoving it down my throat.  Rarely have I ever found a person who exemplifies the God he serves.  This man is one.  For him, for his love, for his tireless compassion, I am so very thankful. 

And for (and to) God - who made all of this (and more) possible - I can never be grateful enough.

That makes way more than ten people.  There are so many more.  
I am indeed blessed.

No comments:

Post a Comment