Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Reflections on Being Thankful

It has been a while since I posted anything.  I can attribute this to a number of factors.

1. I usually only post when something's heavy on my heart. I'm now a social work student, which means there's ALWAYS 200 things that are heavy on my heart, thus making it difficult to choose one.

2. As stated above. I am a social work student, and while not nearly as busy as I expected to be, I'm still pretty busy between field, and class, and oh, my paying job.  I have a lot of downtime, nonetheless, but as much as I love writing, I spend a LOT of hours writing my thoughts, so doing so in my downtime is not as appealing as at other times.

3. I tend to post about things God is teaching me, but I've allowed myself to be distracted from his teaching lately, and this is me being transparent about that.

I'm sure there are other reasons, and for the three people who actually read this on a regular basis, I apologize.

Now that November is over, I do have something that's been on my mind throughout the month.

From November 1st to November 30th, social media was abuzz with THANKFUL posts. Each morning as I sat on my futon/bed watching Full House and checking my phone, I browsed through a number of posts starting with Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and so on.  The number was followed by something very specific that the person was thankful for. I loved catching up on everyone's gratefulness.  It was wonderful to see so many people recognizing the blessings in their lives and looking for those little every-day things that often go unnoticed.

I did not participate.  I chose not to because, if you look through my status updates on facebook, 99% of my thousands of posts are about something I'm thankful for - though I may not explicitly use the word "thankful."  There's simply no way I would have been able to narrow it down to one a day. Whether it's having the office to myself (the reasons I'm able to post this right now), or getting a free hat and gloves from Kmart, or seeing the smiles on my teenagers' faces, or playing superhero with Brandon and Tyler, or simply enjoying the sounds of that random saxophone player who lives in my building, hundreds of times a day I get a chance to see how blessed I am.

This practice of recognizing blessings is something I've been doing for about six years with a fair amount of consistency.  I read David Crowder's book Praise Habit: Finding God in Sunsets and Sushi, which is a study of the Psalms.  He tells stories about how he learned to recognize the millions of ways in which God gives him gifts throughout the day all day every day.  I started attempting the same, and it changed my life.

When you focus on all of those little things, even on the junkiest of days, you feel pretty amazing.  I must think 100 times a day "Wow, this is really cool," or "Man, I'm so thankful for this opportunity," or whatever.

Already today, for example, I've recognized the following:

1. My 2.5 mile walk to work = built in exercise
2. Nat King Cole Christmas music
3. Crossanwhiches
4. I DONT live in a detention center
5. I get to work in a detention center
6. I hang out with some pretty amazing kids all day
7. My supervisor doesn't make me want to jump out a window
8. I have an amazing amount of sustained focus in Grad school that's totally new to me
9. Full House
10. Chi blowdryer
11. My iPhone
12. The beautiful view when crossing the 145th Street bridge.

Just to name a few.

I hope that posting thankful posts throughout November helps everyone to realize how thankful they are every day year round. Makes every day bright and sunny :)