Why is it that every time I try and get on here to express something profound or deep that is stirring in me, I end up getting tired and distracted? And instead of exploring the plight of the urban poor, or discussing insights from the Solzhenitsyn book I’m reading (long, sometimes hard to get through, but gem-like truths scattered throughout…), or telling the stories of the youth on the street, I end up writing about the weather, or something funny or akward that happened (like the time the cat jumped on me while I was alseep the other night – of course I freaked out and jumped a bit, which scared the cat, who proceeded to scratch up my arm and got blood all over my sheets – and this at 2 AM. Sometimes, I really don’t like that cat…)
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I give you exhibit A.
But in the midst of the unsettled and jumpy mind, I find my heart is suffused with a deep sense of gratitude. There is so much to be thankful for, and life has seemed incredibly rich these past few weeks. There are the big things, of course, that I take for granted all too often… not having to worry about where I’ll sleep tonight… knowing where my next meal is coming from… shelter from the rain that is falling outside… my health… the many people who love me and are inextricably intertwined with my life…
But there are the little things too – I’ve been thankful for phone calls and late night cups of coffee, fall colors in the air, snow and rain and sun, the forest and the beach – beauty all around. I’ve been grateful for Jenga and coloring books and crayons and card games with friends on the streets as cars and buses go screeching by. I’m thankful for the crowds and the bustle and dancing and loud music (even if it’s “We are the World” for the 1000th time).
I’m thankful for sitting on my roof and playing guitar into early in the morning under a full moon, for guarana and Magnums. I’m thankful for trips to the zoo in the rain with the kids, and for seeing people we know all over the city. I’m thankful that Rio has become so much of a home that I can be in a city of 10 million plus, and recognize people from the bus as I drive through random parts of the city – and am thankful that those who make the streets their home call me their friend.
I am thankful for the richness of life, and want to soak it all up. And above all, I want to share it. That is the hallmark of a grateful heart – it wants to tell others about the goodness and beauty it sees, even in the midst of darkness and pain. It shouts at the top of its lungs, “God is good. Life is good. And it is GOOD to be alive…”
What are you thankful for right now?