Saturday, November 27, 2010

My Thanksgiving Post

Confession: Sometimes I live my life and think, "O, I've gotta blog about that." Or, on a more thoughtful day my mind wanders to something nearing almost-profound and I begin writing a blog post in my head. Sometimes I laugh at myself and the ridiculousness of it. Sometimes I condemn myself and wonder what mini-idol I'm erecting in my heart over this blog, and consider deleting it, and my Facebook account and avoiding all contact with people except those my life physically touches. Most times I just shake it off, and remind myself that this little blog is a memory-book of sorts. I hope it touches the lives of others, but it always serves as a reminder to me of everything we've been blessed with.

So, I was lying in bed Thanksgiving night thinking about what in the world I was going to blog about for Thanksgiving. A list of the things I'm thankful for seemed too generic. Besides, I don't think a simple list could cover all the things I am thankful for, and why- and the whys would take up far too much space. Then I thought just posting pictures of our weekend with Daniel's sister, Rebecca, her husband, Nathan, and baby Savannah would be simple and cute-- except besides Thanksgiving dinner I haven't taken any. I thought of forgetting the blog and just skipping over the holiday completely-- I've certainly done that with lots of other things before (e.g. my birthday, our honeymoon, veterans day, voting day).

And I'm just sitting here typing wondering what I'll end up doing. I still don't know.

I used to be such a thinker. I used to have deep, coherent conversations with friends about theology, and (some) philosophy, sociology. I used to argue more than was beneficial. I used to read a lot too, and find more arguments to challenge myself and others. I used to be a leader. Then, I ruined four great friendships, slipped into a shell and tried to keep my mouth shut and my opinions to myself for the next three years. If I opened up, you were trusted, and you were the few.

Time is the best medicine, most people say. Well, over time, I am still learning how to live a balanced life. In the fear of one extreme I jumped to another. Some of this was external, but most was internal. Isn't that so much like the human nature? In an attempt to free ourselves from the bondage of something, we run in the opposite direction and cling to whatever we find there. Is not every movement actually a counter-movement against a lifestyle that has gone too extreme? Think about what "way of life" you think is so important, and you can add in your own example.

I didn't gain anything, and ended up losing in the end when I was confidently over-opinionated. I really didn't gain all that much when I jumped to the other side, either. I actually think I missed out on a lot. Now I am having to relearn a lot of thoughts and skills I already knew. That's a loss, too. 

And now comes the part of my blog posts (the ones that don't ever get published) when I can't ever seem to complete my thoughts. When I never know what it was I was actually trying to say. When the words don't come to my mind, and my fingers sit idly waiting.


So, Reader, draw your own conclusion. We're all our own thinkers. I'm not only pushing for balance, because change and progress are important. Sometimes jumping from one extreme to another is the only way to make a point. So how about this: is the point you are making worth whatever you're going to lose? Because you will lose something.

I learned that it wasn't. Some of the things I said are important, even now, years later. Some are still hidden passions of mine. But I need to learn how to say them in a way that doesn't offend and ruin friendships. Until I can do that, they're not worth saying. To lose a thought, a word, a conversation is one thing, but to lose a relationship... 

When Michael was doing a class project a couple of weeks ago in preparation for Thanksgiving, he came home with a 6-year-old hand-shaped turkey with five finger feathers. The instructions were to list five of the things he was thankful for on each of those fingers. So I asked him, "What are you thankful for, Michael?" The first thing he said made me smile and giggle a little. It's obvious he's growing up in the 2000s.

"The earth."

"Ok, what next?"


"You mean your family? Mom, Daddy, Maura?"

"No. Just the people. All the people in the world. Because they're here."

So I wrote "People."

Good grief, he's right.

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