On Monday, my community gathered together for Friendsgiving, where we shared food and our lives with one another. We laughed together. We celebrated together. And we shared our struggles with one another and gave thanks for the opportunity to come together. We smiled through tears of thanksgiving and held one another in loving arms. We prayed together as brothers and sisters and gave thanks to God through worship through songs and friendship.
A couple days earlier, I got to listen in as one of my coworkers and partner on city radio walked a young woman through the steps of becoming a mother. She helped walk this young couple (and the girls mother or mother-in-law) through delivering a child, as first responders raced to the residence.
And while the fire department got on scene before the newborn child (by about 5 minutes), it was a beautiful and frightening moment to listen in on.
This past year hasn’t been easy. Learning a new job has brought a completely new form of stress into my life. Every time I answer the phone, it’s something new, something different. You have to be prepared for anything and everything.
One of the things that I have been learning over the past year is to be present in each moment. To take each breath as an opportunity to ground myself in the moment and to give thanks for each moment that comes.
It’s harder than it sounds. In a world that screams at you for attention at every opportunity, it is difficult to find those moments to be still, to take a breath, to pause, to give thanks.
We live our lives going 120 miles per hour. We don’t want to slow down because we might miss something. But the reality is that we are missing everything except what we are expecting. We don’t know how to live in the moment, or at least I never knew how.
When we pause and learn to give thanks, we learn how to live in the now.
Yesterday, we celebrated Thanksgiving. I had gotten off the night before after a 12 hour shift and slept a majority of the day to prepare for another 12 hour shift. When I awoke, one of the first things I did was to thank God for another day (or night) in which I have the opportunity to be thankful, to experience His grace.
I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to continue to serve my community. While I miss my time in AmeriCorps, I am thankful that I discovered another way to serve. I’m thankful for the adventures that I’ve had, the opportunities to explore the world around me. To meet new people and to pick up friendships that span across the world.
I am thankful for all those who have supported me; friends, coworkers, supervisors, and family. I am thankful for everyone who has challenged me to grow, to seek out new opportunities, and to force me to be the best that I can be.
Earlier this morning, I answered the phone to hear the plea of a mother whose child had stopped breathing. In that instant, all the panic that swelled up within me became a steady calm as my training kicked in and (with the help of my coworkers) I walked the parents through CPR.
Just before first responders arrived on scene, the child started breathing on their own. And in that moment, I was thankful. I was thankful in knowing that I was exactly where I needed to be.
I shared with my community during friendsgiving that I am thankful for being present. For knowing that I am exactly where I need to be. For being present.
I am thankful for each breath because I know that the next is not guaranteed.