Since 2003 I have spent some time early Thanksgiving morning reflecting and journaling what I am thankful for regarding the past year. Here are a few things I recorded in my journal this year.
1. Relationships. As I have gotten older and have been single now for six years running I have become increasingly sensitive to the need of meaningful interpersonal relationships. I am grateful for all my friends and one particular relationship this past year which has brought me a lot of joy. Relationships and intimacy are gifts from God and I never want to take them for granted...so...I thank God for my friends,my family, my two sons in particular and one special lady friend.
2. My home. Last year I moved into a house by myself for the first time in my life. My living situation prior to last years move was very stressful and I am very thankful that I have my own space where I have can express myself and live in peace.
3. Church. After six years in self exile regarding church I am grateful I have found a church, where I at least feel comfortable. I haven't decided to join the church and have yet to get too heavily involved but I have made a number of friends and it feels good to be a part of a regular community again.
4. Deeper understanding about relationships. I have spent a significant amount of time and energy over the past few years thinking and pondering about the nature of interpersonal relationships and while I am not presently married I do feel I am at a much better place regarding my own understanding about the "nature" of relationships...and...have been told more than once by people close to me than I really know how to do relationships....which....has been very encouraging to me. I intend to write more about this in the weeks and months to come. It has been a long hard road at times but I do feel I am making progress.
5. Growth in the "practice" of spiritual disciplines. For years I read about spiritual disciplines but it never really got much further than between my two ears. This past year I found myself praying, journaling, and meditating more than ever. I didn't set out to do any of this intentionally but have found myself gravitating, naturally towards practicing and creating my own style of what some might call spiritual disciplines and I feel good about it.
6. Gifts from a "special" friend. About six months ago a lady friend of mine celebrated my birthday by showering me with some really cool stuff. She took me to a Moody Blues concert and bought me some clothes for the special occasion. It was the best birthday present I have ever received and I was totally blown away...especially considering it wasn't even my birthday!....She decided to give me a surprise birthday party after learning how I spent my birthday alone last year trying to find a place to live because of my difficult living situation. I was so moved by her sensitivity and graciousness.... I cried...It was one of the highlights of my life...