Today was a day where I wanted to slice myself down the middle and open myself up wide enough to encompass the world and then sew myself back together, everything nice and cozy in there. Can you feel it, world?
I have been finding beautiful treasures under my fingernails, beside me on the subway, and in my email inbox. Sometimes they are small and other times they are life-size. Some I am uncovering, wiping away the layers of dust that have made their home on top. And some are shiny and new.
I am missing Thanksgiving at my house this year and I wonder what's on The List. My mother always takes a yellow legal pad and writes and writes for days before our family meets to eat and talk and eat some more. And before we eat, she reads her paper. I miss my mother and her beautiful, grateful heart that lives in awe of the good things that continue to rain down into her life and the lives of her children.
This is my list, mom.
I am thankful for a rock of a family that cannot be moved or torn apart or shaken. A family that is whole and fully gracious and loves, loves, loves, the pants off of everyone who takes a step inside it.
I am thankful for the partner I have in life- the way he leads me to new places and makes everywhere we go home.
I am thankful for generous and good friends back home that distance cannot silence or mellow.
I am thankful for generous and good friends I've met here that give me hope and make me laugh and appreciate community.
I am thankful for all the comments and little notes in my email I've received from people I do not know, but who encourage me and tell me they enjoy reading what I write. You don't understand how much your words keep my words coming. Writing is solitary (and boring to watch, as Audrey Niffenegger says) and your kindness breaks into the room where I so often find myself alone. I am not lonely here. Thank you. Thank you.
This is a short list. Because I happen to be thankful for a gym membership, which I fully took advantage of this evening. And I'm also thankful for long, winding conversations with my almost-husband that have kept me up late. And I'm thankful for poetry like this:
God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.
These are the words we dimly hear:
You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don't let yourself lose me.
Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.
Give me your hand.
Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke's Book of Hours