Let us give thanks.
For a sunrise on a snowy day. For leftover whipped cream to put in our coffee. For Michael Jackson songs, and people who love Jesus, and money in the bank account.
Let’s make the stuffing spicy and eat pie for breakfast and pass the foamy eggnog. Let’s put bacon in the green beans and aprons on the children and blast some Disney songs.
If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be sitting at a wooden table drinking French pressed coffee at sunrise in South Dakota. I wouldn’t have had the thought to drive across the country and reach out to friends who received me like a baby bird, feeding and comforting me, sure I would fly right again.
If it weren’t for you, I would never have watched the moon rise over Puget Sound on a pink evening, sea water lapping the sides of a dingy and a breeze so soft it felt like breathing. I wouldn’t have eaten piles of fresh crab or raised a sail or steered right into to the wind.
If it weren’t for you, I would never have stood at the top of Mauna Kea, crushed by infinite stars on the hood of a white beater car. Or sat on the bottom of the ocean, surrounded by fish and coral and that certain weightless quiet that captures you when in a place you don’t belong.
If it weren’t for you, I would never have felt that kind of pain that brings you back to life. The kind that when you survive, makes you realize how precious life is, how strong your heart is, how loved by the infinite we really are.
Thank you for dancing with me to my favorite song, for saving me the last cup of coffee, for driving home, for cleaning the driveway, for getting me a dog, for leaving front yard flowers on the dining room table.
Thank you for not seeing me, for paddling out, for showing me exactly who I am and exactly who I am not. For not answering the phone, for that blank look, for that silence between us that grows as we move closer.
Gratitude is more than thanking God for what we have. It’s falling on our knees for what we have not, for the good and the bad, the joy and the sorrow. The all and the everything that has brought us to this moment of grace when we see, so clearly, that everything’s gonna be alright.
And so it will.
The angels in my life prove it over and over and over. There is the friend who stayed up with me until 4am, smoking Swisher Sweets and laughing. There is the friend who took me out for pancakes on my birthday and who never fails to ignite a fire in my heart. There is the friend who forgave me with a long hug on an empty street in the early morning. There is a dog who insists on sitting on my lap and nuzzling. There are complete strangers who take me out for Indian food or come to sit in my section on a busy Sunday or check on me when camping alone on the windy Deschutes River.
There is a place to go in Denver, in Boise, in the Black Hills, in Albert Lea, in Goldendale, on Maui, in New York City, in Breckenridge, in Portland, Astoria, Minneapolis, Mentor, in Maine. A place to rest my head, to find friendship, salvation, love and best of all life.
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank.
Friends, angels, whoever you are, thank you for all those moments that added up to saving me, to giving me a full and enriched and incredibly vibrant life.
This year I won’t dare to wish for what isn’t. I’ll hold onto what is with all my might and bask in this wonderful life better than any wishy wishing or dreamy dreams.
So let’s walk the dog in the snow and pour a shot of whiskey in our hot tea. Pick me up for the buffet at 11 to chat about New Mexico and the color scheme at Yellow Arrow Coffee. Let’s call our parents and remember the Thanksgiving when the cat peed in Aunt Kathy’s dinner plate. Let’s remember that grandma couldn’t eat corn because of her false teeth and wish we had her recipe for chicken and dumplings. Let’s eat too much pie and be glad that this year we don’t have to do the dishes.