November is apparently the official month of thanks. I am reminded of this every single time I check my Facebook and people's daily status.
And I have to admit it is better reading than comments about the latest election or that they just made 2 dozen blueberry muffins from a recipe on Pinterest. Because I believe in gratitude and counting blessings even if it is not my daily status, I have gone a little old school and every morning am filling a journal with 20+ things that I am thankful for. Every single day. This constant thanks giving makes me look for it and helps to chase off the sad that occasionally tries to sneak back in. And some days 20 things feels like an awful lot to be thankful for. Even from a girl with at least that many pairs of shoes.
If you know me, or have reads this blog for long you know that i have a heart for homeless people. My church goes downtown and offers the gift of hospitality to them once a month and I used to be a regular. But recently my Saturday's are mostly filled with running and soccer and grading papers. It has been a while. And my heart has missed it.
This Saturday there was a tiny window after one game but before another practice where I could go. And I considered it.
Thought that maybe I should.
But that it was windy. And I wasn't feeling great. And I'd have to miss the last quarter of Owen's last game. And I had a million other things to do. My couch sounded so much better.
Lately my theme has been to do it anyways.
If it is raining. To run anyways.
If I just want to lay on the couch, to be productive anyways.
Even if it hurts, to love anyways.
And so despite the dozen excuses I played through my head, I drove my car to church. Anyways.
And of course, as usual was fed in so many more ways than I attempted to feed.
There was a large group from the rotary club that had made BBQ all week and they mostly had the food serving line down, so I tried to help out in a different way and volunteered to help man the craft table. Even though I am not the least bit crafty. In addition to a few crafts for kids, some cards residents could write to family were several large posterboards with a box of markers for grown ups and kids alike to write what they were thankful for.
I would ask them, would you like to write something that you are thankful for, and without skipping a beat these men and women would snatch the sharpie from me and start scribbling. Sometimes so much that I occasionally had to kindly remind them to leave a bit of room for others to share their thankfulness too.More than once I was asked to hold their plastic bag while they wrote. And I wondered if maybe I was holding all they owned while they penned how very much they had to be thankful for.
To be alive.
For a bed to sleep in. (Even if it is was in a shelter).
For their family.
For God's good provision.
For God's many blessings.
And the lists went on.
Little kids drew pictures. Grown men asked me to write for them because they had trouble. And someone tried to sell me cigarettes for a quarter. But something tells me he would have been thankful for that quarter.
Praise music played loudly from a sound system in the background. Kids colored and made bracelets. A circle of teenagers played hackey sack. While a hundred or so people stood in line to be fed. The wind blew trash and dirt around and to be honest most people didn't smell very good. I needed to pee but had to hold it because the port a potty looked pretty icky. Even for port a potty standards. The forecast called for rain and a cold front. And the food line got even longer. From the looks of things, there was more to complain about than be thankful for.
But at least for today, I didn't hear a single person grumble.
I got a plate too and sat at a table and tried to make conversation. The food was good. My new friends were chatty. Even though the wind blew our plates off the tables, I learned more than I have ever read on Facebook about what it means to be thankful.
From a sweet 6 year old who surprised me with a huge hug.
From John who was certain that God would take care of him.
From Willie who chased down my plate and offered me his own cookie when mine blew away.
From person after person with literally nothing, that showed me how much they really had by scribbling it in sharpie on my yellow posterboard.
That even when your circumstances don't seem to merit it, to be thankful. Anyways.
And for that, I am incredibly thankful.