It's that time once again for this year's edition of I Give Thanks. As I do each year around Thanksgiving, I am looking back at my life in 2015 and everything for which I am thankful.
While 2015 has been one of the most difficult years so far, it was not without its rewards and abundance. This year, I give thanks for . . .
- My Creator who knows my name, every hair on my head and every cell in my body. And despite what others may say, each day I celebrate that I am a child of G_d, that death has no shadow, and I choose to live in the light.
- My family, including my ancestors, whose efforts, perseverance as well as their mistakes and failures, helped bring me forth. I owe my life to them.
- My country where I can enjoy many freedoms. And a huge thank you to the men and women in all branches of the US military who work and fight to keep those freedoms for us all.
- The ability to get out of bed each morning, of my own will and strength; the ability to dress myself and cook for myself and family. There are many who can't do the simple things that each day I take for granted. I also thank the caregivers who help those who struggle with these daily tasks.
- The wisdom to understand the difference between what I must do and what I want to do. Most days I am truly blessed, for they are the same.
- For my health. At one point I actually feared that 2015 would be the year at the end of my dash. With careful planning and support of family and friends, I've lost over 70 pounds since my gastric surgery in July and I'm experiencing the best health in almost 10 years.
- That I live in a time and place where I can be who I am. And I can accept others as they are. And I can voice an opinion. And I can listen to the views of others.
- The knowledge that ABUNDANCE and the ability to let go is a true blessing. My mother, a wise woman if there ever was one, once told me: "Let go of what you are holding on to. Only then can your palm be open and face up to receive the next good thing coming your way." Words I live by each and every day.
- The desire to play the entire keyboard that is life, not just the most common keys.
- My partner of almost 16 years who celebrates me at my best and still loves me at my worst. He appreciates that: I've never been on America's Most Wanted, that I've never owned anything Hello Kitty, that I can find Waldo almost every time, and he loves it when I'm opinionated. He knows I would follow him anywhere, and that I have. And we both know that it just gets better every year.
- A vibrant and generous community of genealogists and family historians including those I only know in the online world. Each and every day you challenge me to look at genealogy from new perspectives, you share your knowledge and resources without a second thought, and you encourage me to get back up and do the genealogy dance despite bouts of occasional ill-conceived reasoning and mistakes.
- The family of fellow genealogy bloggers: how they inspire me, how they challenge me, and how they make me think. They are more than just a group of memory gatherers: they animate facts such as birth dates and death dates; they bring to life how their ancestors lived and loved; and they often share the personal, from reflections to feelings, from past to present.
- A career in genealogy and family history, doing what I absolutely love.
- Knowing that the greatest prison people live in is the fear of what other people think. And that only dead fish go with the flow.
- A roof over my head and a meal on the table each and every day in 2015. I'd like to do this one again in 2016, please.
- The responsibility and duty of caring for an aging parent which finally came to an end this June. I am thankful for the journey that was Mom. Where we've traveled, especially in the past 15 years, is not a trip you'll ever find in a guide book. Despite all that's been written about Alzheimer's disease, especially early-onset, no guide book exists, for each journey is unique.
- The friends and loved ones who have passed on this year and what their lives meant to me.
- A universe that bends towards justice.
- And to my mother. I can never say thank you enough to the woman who brought me into this world and to someone from whom I learned life's lessons. Mom gave me my work ethic, my sensitivity, my love of learning. We didn't always agree, but she also let me know that was okay too. She also taught me how to say, "Thank You."
I give thanks.
© 2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.