Thursday, November 27, 2008


Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday for a long time. What's not to love? Family, football, and food. Well, a few years ago the "food" part started causing problems in my life.

Thanksgiving 2006 I spent in Branson, Missouri feeling like an understandable freak, pretending I didn't have an eating disorder.

Thanksgiving 2007 I spent in Cambodia teaching all day, throwing up all night. My family called my cell phone after wards and I cried. I went to bed not wanting to get up the next day.

So, needless to say, Thanksgiving was replaced by the Fourth of July as my new favorite holiday. Thanksgiving and I parted ways. I only saw pain in the holiday and wanted nothing to do with an entire day dedicated to food and the consumption of it, as if each day isn't hard enough.

Exactly a year ago today, things were a little different.

Thanksgiving 2008 finds me in Bristol, Tennessee. My family drove out here to be with Mom's side of the family. I don't love traveling. I don't love constantly being surrounded by people. I don't love Thanksgiving, but the holiday sort of redeemed itself today. Or maybe, I redeemed Thanksgiving today. Or maybe Spirit redeemed Thanksgiving for me.

I slept in and went for a run. I watched the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade and played Skip-bo with Nana. I sang "Baby, it's cold outside" with my Dad, even though he doesn't really know the words very well, he tries. I emailed my kids in Cambodia and we went on an adventure to the grocery store. Oh yeah, and some where in there we had Thanksgiving dinner. Fine by me.

I don't hate Thanksgiving anymore. The curse is lifted.

Today I am thankful for all the cliche things you might expect me to say, but might not fully understand unless you've been without them.

I am more grateful for safety than any other time in my life. I have not been violated, stared at, harassed in public, or forced into less than safe situations lately.

I have freedoms in the United States that most of the world has never experienced. I have taken full advantage of my freedom of speech, freedom of religion, right to an education, and equal rights quite frequently since I've been home. Frequently, like every single day.

The attrocities, murders, and bribes that go on overseas left me feeling helpless and scared. Here I know that if my car gets stolen or a friend is abused, someone will care, someone will do something. Justice may not always be served flawlessly in the States, but at least it is an option. I will never again take that for granted.

Safety, freedom, and justice. Food, warmth, education, family, friends, Spirit, money, oxygen, health, talents, abilities, I could go on.

It's just more of those every day ordinary things I am more conscious of than any other time in my life, and am so grateful.


caitlyn brianne said...

i love reading your blogs heather :) its ironic too because im in Piney Flatts, Tenn my uncle works in Bristol so i'm right down the road from you it seems! lol im glad you had a great thanksgiving :)