Last Monday I experienced something I never have before: complete mental overload. I had so much stress on me that it felt like the world was caving in. It was a strange and scary realization, and for the first time in my life I felt completely powerless. Ultimately, I ended up going home on Tuesday for the entire week to rest, recharge, and calm down. I believe that had I not I would have ended up in the hospital. Since Thanksgiving happened roughly two weeks ago, and with Christmas on the way, I want to take the time to offer up gratitude and appreciation for everything that I'm thankful for. I think had I done this before, instead of worrying and putting unneeded expectations on myself, that I could have prevented the stress shutdown that occurred.
First of all--the reason for the season--Jesus. To all those out there not down with the J.C., consider receiving the one gift, the promise of salvation and a personal relationship with Jesus, this season that won't cost you money or force you to wait in line. Not a sermon, just something for the skeptics to consider.
My family--especially my mom, dad, and brother. In this world it's hard to find loving support and compassion, but I definitely get it from my family. For those of you out there that aren't on good terms with your family, I hope that you will be able to turn things around. Also, I've got some really great friends that have been there when I needed them. Yeah, I know it sounds sappy. But, life is a lonely place without meaningful relationships which family and friends often provide. I encourage everyone to forgive those that have hurt them during the past year, or before, and repair those broken relationships. It's often difficult to do, but I don't think anyone wants to spend the rest of their life asking: what if?
Those were serious, now for some more light-hearted things I was thankful for this year...
Good health (alright that's serious too), all those hot days during the summer, Snowpocalypse, free meals and home cooking, cookies, the times I got up early enough to see the sunrise, going to the D.R. and all those who gave money, prayed, etc, getting closer to new friends and reconnecting with old friends, roadtrips, when things turned out better than expected (and sometimes when they turned out worse), music: live and recorded, Thursday night frisbee, unexpected conversations, the absurd moments, events that were too perfect to be coincidence, getting answers for unasked questions, cornerstone, new jokes and ones that got old, all the beers I tried (even the ones that sucked), slow nights, encouragement when I needed it and criticism too, growing up but not growing old, grace, getting to the bus stop at the same time as the bus, watching hard work pay off, racquetball, meals with friends, and all the moments that let me know I'm alive and God loves me.
And I'm glad that 2011 provides an opportunity for me to be thankful for new things while cherishing the old.