Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Grateful on Track 1

It never fails. Every year I have this strong conviction to slow my roll before the holidays. I tell myself to breathe in and out with cleansing breaths and meditate on the blessings of the past year. Instead, I'm rushing to and fro, unconsciously holding my breath until the very last second before my lungs send a message to my brain to inhale.

This year was no different. Yesterday afternoon I was fighting to stay awake in the office when my phone's red light blinked. The caller I.D. told me it was my older daughter Maricelle who was coming home from college that evening on the Amtrak.  Upon answering she nonchalantly said, "Hi Mommy! I'm at the train station now. I got out of school early because they had to evacuate us due to a bomb threat." In the following nanoseconds I went from alarm to relief because she was obviously safe but before my brain could fully register the thread of emotions, the call waiting alert interrupted. Grrr. It was my middle daughter Chloe, totally exasperated. "Mom! What are you doing? Could you pick Rylee up because I have to work late." I believe I managed to muster a faint, "Uhhhhh what? I. AM. SO. FREAKIN'. TIRED."

When the train deposited my daughter in one piece on the Fullerton station platform I was simply thankful. For EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. I'm grateful for the obvious: my life, my family, my 3 grown kids, my granddaughter Rylee, my boyfriend Ray (whom I haven't scared off yet), my close friends who are incredibly patient and understanding of my wackiness, my job, my photography business, my health, etc. The list can go on and unfurl like an ancient scroll. I send a prayer of thanks for:
  • the unsung heroes, the people, "family", and friends who work toward the success of My Refuge House. The ones who do something in the face of evil instead of turning away. (If I listed all of you I'd have to write 2 blog entries.)
  • the caregivers of this world, like Ray, who is a shining example of working a thankless job while managing to be MY best friend, my partner, and the one who keeps both of my feet planted firmly on the ground. 
  • my "train station platform" friend (hi bean) who walks through the detritus of my arrogant pride and resulting lessons in humility. She exhibits grace and mercy toward me when I know she wants to smack me upside my head sometimes.
  • my girlfriends who have stuck by me all these years patient with my ongoing peccadilloes. (You gals deserve your own blog entry!)
  • the photographer friends who selflessly guide, correct, and teach me in my business venture. 
  • my fellow warriors, Derrick and Kat, for fighting injustice alongside me. 
  • the young girls rescued from the sex trade and child labor, who have walked over the threshold of My Refuge House, finding love, solace, and sanctuary in their otherwise dark existence. 
Last night, as I watched the train depart and saw my daughters and granddaughter walking toward me, my heart distended with gratitude for second chances, redemption, reconciliation, and forgiveness. My mind couldn't extend to the needy or suffering in the world because my world is comprised of the females facing me. I continue to marvel at my good fortune--to be good friends with my daughters despite the ugliness we experienced for so many years. 

On this Thanksgiving 2010, I wish all of you in blogger world a day filled with much gluttony, imbibing, and clear revelations of gratitude knocking you upside the head!