- Girl (obviously antsy): Hurry, mom...we're already two minutes late for school
- Wife (confused): Honey, school doesn't start for another 10 minutes. I don't think you are reading the clock right
- Girl (highly insulted at her ability to tell time being questioned): Yeah but dad says that it normally takes us 12 minutes to get to school unless we hit the lights just right and make great time but we can't count on that so we are already probably late for school and it will be my fault because they are my pants and I didn't plan ahead and we will need to get tardy slips and give them to my teacher who makes fun of us when we are late and now we are three minutes late so could you hurry? Please?
- Wife (looking baffled as her husband proudly snickers on the other side of the couch): Ok. Done. Off you go.
There are a couple of drawbacks to having this personality trait. First and foremost is that you do not live in the present. That means that if something good happens, I very rarely enjoy it because I have already moved on to the challenges of my next thing. It also means that I live my life by my plans and if...when...they are disrupted, my entire world is thrown off a little bit. I get grumpy when chaos enters my life. The third piece is that I have a hard time being thankful. Thankfulness requires that we stop and reflect on the blessings that have been poured upon us. It is not about fixing anything or planning anything or doing anything. It is simply being present and soaking in the goodness that we have been given while acknowledging that these are things we have been given, not that we have earned. Thankfulness is directly tied to receiving. If the things that we celebrate are earned, we are less thankful and more proud of our accomplishments.
So in acknowledgement of my natural tendencies and out of respect for this Thanksgiving week, here are some things that I am deeply thankful for:
- My wife and children are all happy, healthy, full of laughter and so much fun.
- I have a great house to live in and a good car to drive.
- My job pays a liveable wage, regularly challenges my mind and my faith and pours resources into our community for a demographic who really need people to invest in them
- I have a tremendous staff
- I have a Board of Directors who love Joel's Place and volunteer their time
- We have hundreds of supporters who give of their time, money and resources to allow Joel's Place to exist.
- Fairbanks is an outstanding place to live and raise a family.
- It is snowing outside right now.
- I have a book coming out in the spring
- My parents live in town and are astoundingly generous and helpful
- I work somewhere that specializes in making people smile
- The Faith Community loves youth and works with us to serve them.
- I have a flexible schedule that allows me to be with my family as they grow
- My wife made me chocolate cupcakes for my birthday breakfast
- I have people who read this blog and offer me encouraging feedback.
I am thankful for holidays that are scheduled into the year that remind me to step out of "Ten Minutes From Now" and embrace thankfulness. I invite you to join me, take a step back, stop all the cleaning and preparing that you are doing today and remember the good things you have been given. Allow Thankfulness to propel your holiday weekend instead of panic and duty. See you on the other side.