I love Thanksgiving, it’s totally my favorite holiday. I mean c’mon what’s better? You get a whole week off school, it’s perfectly acceptable to eat until you can’t move, and left over pumpkin pie and stuffing for breakfast? HECK yeah. If 'm being real, I like the thankfulness part too, but sometimes it feels so manufactured and expected. It feels like a prescription: here’s the one time of the year everyone is required to be thankful, so think of a list, share it before we sit down, and forget everything we just said we were thankful for as we scarf down our turkey, READY GO!
Why not be thankful all the time? Why not make gratitude a reflex, so that we look at our lives through a lens of abundance, instead always searching for the next big thing? How much would our hearts and perspectives change if we could think of five things we were thankful for from the moment we wake up each day? I have had some time lately to slow down and just look at the life I am living, and man. this life is good.
There are moments in all our lives that stick out like little post-it notes in our big book of memories. I’m talking about those polaroid picturesque moments that you file away in your brain and can always flip to when you need a reminder of how good this life is. I had one of these the other day, and every time I recall this moment, my brain automatically titles it “church giggles.”
It was the second Wednesday night of my sophomore year, and I was sitting in Benton Chapel listening to our campus minister preach on Colossians 1, and I got it. There are seasons in my relationship with Christ that I can feel so distant from him, and I wonder how the story of a man from thousands of years ago could have anything to do with me and how loved and known I am, but then there are nights like church giggles. Sometimes you just GET it. Its like those water exhibits you see at the children museum. You watch the water coming in streams pouring into the giant buckets hanging from the ceiling until the bucket can’t hold any more water and it all goes splashing down to the ground, making all the little kiddos squeal with laughter. It just clicks, and I think those moments are the closest I’ll ever get to heaven on earth.
That night, Richie was teaching that we have everything we could ever need in Jesus, and that there was nothing I could do to add to - or take away from - the perfect completeness God sees in me. PEOPLE! There is n o t h i n g you or me can do to make God love us any more or any less. Boom. Click. The bucket overflowed. I GOT it, and I could not stop smiling. I just sat there in the pew smiling and giggling, overjoyed by the simple truth that I am complete. I am not lacking anything, there is nothing I can strive for that will bring me more joy than being in a relationship with Jesus. I just wanted to jump up and down, dance all over that chapel, and run around campus. I felt so alive, and I want to recognize and be thankful for these moments when life really does feel like the sweetest gift in the world.
So, here are some other cool things that life does that I am thankful for. You can read them if you’d like, but if you’d rather go jump up and down, have a dance party, or write your own gratitude list, I fully support.
Some Really Awesome Things I Love About this Life
- Waking up in the morning to sunlight peeking through your window
- Ice cream. Just everything about it, especially the last bite of an ice cream cone when it’s all soft at the bottom
- How excited my dog gets when my mom gets home
- My mom anytime ever
- Waking up my little sister and cuddling with her when she’s still all groggy and warm
- Taking care of plants and actually watching them grow
- When strangers do random nice things for other strangers, like buying their Starbucks
- Homemade breakfast, breakfast for dinner, just breakfast food in general
- Friends who turn into family
- Living next door to all my best friends at college
- Snail mail (bonus points for fun stationary!!)
- When you see your food coming at a restaurant
- Hearing your favorite song on the radio
- Driving at night
- Coke from the soda machine, not the can
- Climbing on the countertops and dancing in the kitchen
- When you go so hard dancing that you just collapse into a pile of laughter (usually the result of number 16)
- The moment when you finish a coloring book page
- Coffee shops
- Running at my lake house in the woods, also running on the lakefront in Chicago (generally anytime I actually enjoy running is a blessing)
- The way it smells when it rains, also lavender scented anything
- Finishing a journal and starting a new one
- Finding a really good Netflix series
- Doing yoga (but especially the part where you just lie on your back at the end)
- Hockey Season
- Late night dorm room chats
- Bonfires and guitars. Preferably together. Also nice separately.
- Homemade blueberry muffins
- When my big brother calls me just to chat
- Laughing so hard when you try to tell a story that the words don’t come out and you start crying but everyone else is still laughing even though they don’t know what’s so funny
- Throwing surprise parties
- The first day of summer
- Rainy days and board games and Disney movie series
- Realizing your prayers got answered better than you could’ve ever asked for
What do you have to be thankful for today? Let someone know, write it down, or text me a list. I’d love to hear it.