What I am Thankful For

Over the past several days, I have spent countless hours hanging out with family. We have relaxed and watched football. We got out our instruments and jammed together. We sang. We ate a lot of food. We sat around and enjoyed one another’s company. We put down our phones (sometimes). We cooked. We took pictures. We laughed. And we were thankful.

I noted a couple days ago, that this was my first time in five years that I have made it to my grandparents for Thanksgiving. Last year, I was up in Detroit responding to the 11-13 Aug Flooding with the AmeriCorps St Louis Emergency Response Team (ERT). The year before that, I was volunteering my time alongside some of my ERT teammates in Washington, IL, after a tornado swept through that community. Before that, I was hanging out with FEMA Corps in NYC, responding to Super Storm Sandy. And two years before that, I spent the day in Houston, TX with Sun 7, my original team from AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC).

While I am thankful for the time spent with family this year, I am even more appreciative of my experiences in National Service with the various AmeriCorps programs that I have been a part of. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve in response to disasters and beside some of the most amazing people, the best of friends, and a family that continues to expand across the world.

I am thankful that I am starting a new job in just over a week. It’s been a long spell of waiting, but that time is over. It is stressful, trying to locate housing and put down some type of roots.

I am thankful for the support of friends and family, because I know too many individuals who do not have the same network of support that fills my life. I am thankful for all those with whom I am able to stand shoulder to shoulder with, supporting and celebrating each moment with them.

I am thankful for moments of silence, when all the chaos of the day fades away and I can finally breathe. I love being with my family, but sometimes there is just too much going on. As an introvert, I get overwhelmed by the questions, by the activities, by the constant ‘go-go-go!’ of the weekend. I am thankful for times when I can unplug and relax and not have to worry about anything other than thanking God for the day.

There are times when we are overwhelmed with emotion and cannot remember to be thankful for everything we have, have experienced, and have lost. Step back. Take a breath. Say thank you. And dive back in!

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