"God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say 'thank you?'" ~ William A. Ward
"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving." ~ H.U. Westermayer
So I owe 15 gratitudes today. When my past trauma is triggered, which it has been a lot lately, and was in the extremely recent past (like in the past 15 minutes), it is so difficult to get out of that head space where I think the only appropriate response is to mutilate myself, and into one of gratitude, so I am extremely challenging myself right now. But we have to challenge ourselves to live in active gratitude. It's vital to our happiness as humans. Of this I am certain.
So today, 5/19/14, I am grate*full...
1. for the life of my beautiful firstborn daughter, Melanie Jane. Today is her sixth birthday. At 1:30 in the morning on Monday, May 19, 2008, my midwife told me that I had labored long enough without progress, and it was time to call the OB in for a c-section. Our precious girl was born at 3:12 AM.
2. to have known some amazing priests in my day. When I found out that I would be having major abdominal surgery, I begged for a priest. The one who showed up was Fr. Dennis, one I had gotten to know the previous year, and who lived at Brossart House, which was right up the street from my apartment at the time. I was so grate*full it was him. Some priests, who don't speak for the majority, have done some unspeakable and terrible things. And the Catholic Church, overall, hasn't done the best job of handling the perpetrators of those vile acts. But I have had the good fortune to know some who are truly great...
3. for Fr. Dan Noll, who kept me Catholic when I was ready to jump ship as a high school senior. He was the pastor at the UK Newman Center, and he taught me so much about WHY we do the things we do. I grew up in an environment of, "Don't ask questions, just do what you're supposed to." And half the time the other kids in CCD didn't even know what we were talking about in religious ed classes because their parents didn't even bring them to church, so every year, it was going over the order of Mass...AGAIN. But that's a story for another day.
4. for Fr. Tom Farrell, who took the Newman Center over when Fr. Dan was reassigned. (In the Lexington diocese, there's a "term limit" of sorts...the longest a priest is allowed to stay at one particular parish is 12 years.) I found out when I got back from spring break my fourth year that Father Dan was leaving the Newman Center, but we got to have a say in who the new priest would be. The staff all really wanted Fr. Tom. I had met him on a twilight retreat a few years earlier, and I wholeheartedly agreed. Fr. Tom was the perfect choice for our progressive community. He got me through a lot of hard times, not the least of which was the death of my mother in 1999.
5. for Fr. Chris Linsler at St. Mary our Mother church in Horseheads. When our son, Marc, was four weeks old, in June of 2011, he had to have abdominal surgery. I was almost as scared then as I was that first night alone in the house after my mom (who was my only surviving parent) died. Marc was in the hospital for four days, and we saw Fr. Chris no less than three times. He was an amazing source of strength and support for us during that horrible week.
6. for Fr. Robert McNamara, aka Fr. Mac, or, as my kids like to call him, "Father Macaroni," and "Father Mac and Cheese," respectively. He was the first priest we met when we started attending St. Mary's Southside when we moved. We ADORE him. He is so sweet and nice and so good with the kids. My children adore him.
7. and, finally, for Fr. John DeSocio, who is the pastor at St. Mary's Southside. He, Fr. Mac, and the rest of the staff, including Deacons Paul and George, have made us feel so welcome, and it's part of the reason we keep going back. We love it there!
8. for the roof over our heads. We have some friends who are in a situation almost identical to the one we were in six months ago, and we're so lucky that a) my father-in-law didn't kick us out immediately if not sooner, and b) that we have a beautiful home.
9. for this beautiful pink pair of flip-flops that I have. I bought them in Canada nine years ago (I can't believe it's been nine years since my epic trip to Canada, where I saw more of Minnesota and Manitoba than I even bargained for). They are a reminder of that amazing trip, where I met some friends in person for the first time, and saw others that I hadn't seen in over a year (yes, this means you, Viccah, Christina, Tan, Chriss, Melissa, Jackie, Wendy, and Andres!) and haven't seen since! Anyway, I thought I had lost one of them (actually, I thought MELANIE had lost one of them LOL) and when we moved we discovered we had both of them! I was so happy!
10. for SARK and her amazing magical message boards that brought me and so many friends together over the years.
11. for the swingset in my back yard.
12. for my dear and loving husband and friends Chris and Matt who helped him get the swingset set up quickly.
13. for my two older children's amazing friends (and our amazing friends) who made their birthday like Christmas they got so many toys, books, and clothes.
14. for my jobs.
15. for job interviews tomorrow and Wednesday.