Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Post-Thanksgiving Post

It's late. I should be sleeping. Barring that, I should be writing a paper that's due in 36 hours. But since I still don't know what I'm going to write my paper about, I figured I'd write here.

I skipped the traditional listing of all the things I'm grateful for this Thanksgiving. I'm not sure why, but something about the Facebook-style sound bites of gratitude didn't seem to capture the depth of gratitude I'm feeling, and I didn't want to trivialize it. I have a lot to be grateful for this year. Let's start with the trivial things.

This year, I'm especially grateful for:
-Giant pharmaceutical companies and their vast amounts of money. Sure, they're probably greedy capitalist pigs and all, but they have improved my quality of life so much that I say they're worth whatever outrageous salary they're making. Please, please don't let the next scandal requiring government takeover happen in this sector. I need my meds.

-Washable markers. Granted, most days that markers enter my life, I'm wishing they didn't exist altogether. But if we have to have art supplies, thank you for making them washable.

-A two year old that still takes naps, can't get out of her crib, and can't open doors. I know I take a huge risk in saying this out loud, but closed doors are probably the last barrier between me and complete insanity. Although it seems like my other three kids have forgotten how to CLOSE doors, so the point may be moot.

-Apple Inc. They are the makers of several things I would take with me if stranded on a desert island, most notably my ipod and my laptop. I love how they just work, I'm never having to reboot or virus-scan or troubleshoot. Plus, my gadgets make me happy. The end.

-Having a built-in babysitter. Brad is old enough now to watch the other kids while Ryan and I go out. He's decent at it, too, which is a good thing because he is also too old to be left with a female babysitter not much older than he is. Having him available is a great convenience, Ryan and I are going on dates almost weekly, plus he frequently invites us to go on dates, so he can earn money. That's what I call a win-win-win.

And now for the big one: friends. I'm grateful for friends year-round, of course, just like I'm always grateful for family, health, blah blah blah insert the standard list of things adults are grateful for. But this year in particular, friends have made a huge difference in my life. It's one of those things that you're always happy to have but it's not until you need it that the significance stands out. (I was trying to come up with an appropriate metaphor for this: something you don't realize the importance of until you need it - like car insurance? An ice scraper? A rape whistle? None of these are quite right, forget it.)

We lived in a ward where I really never made friends. Plenty of acquaintances, sure, but over the year and a half, no real friendships. I remember the loneliness of that, having my first child and being so completely on my own with it. My visiting teachers didn't even come for like eight months, that last bastion of connection between a lonely person and the rest of the world. I never, ever want to feel that way again. That was a long time ago, but ever since I've gone out of my way to make sure I have friends, wherever I live.

Since we moved to Orem seven years ago, I've been blessed to make some of the best friends I could ever imagine. We've taken kids to various sports together, driven carpool together, watched each others kids while we volunteered at school. We've talked about tv shows and books (and I include my parents in this, two of my closest friends.) We've swapped recipes and meals and probably germs, gone through pregnancies and illnesses, shared happy days and sad ones. The song "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" happened to show up in my car cd player a couple of months ago, and for a while I couldn't listen to it without crying. (Okay, so it was during my more emotional time, whatever.) The lyrics go like this:

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows when
But I'm strong
Strong enough to carry him
He ain't heavy, he's my brother.

So on we go
His welfare is of my concern
No burden is he to bear
We'll get there
For I know
He would not encumber me
He ain't heavy, he's my brother.

If I'm laden at all
I'm laden with sadness
That everyone's heart
Isn't filled with the gladness
Of love for one another.

It's a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we're on the way to there
Why not share
And the load
Doesn't weigh me down at all
He ain't heavy, he's my brother.

I have felt the hands of my friends, my family carrying my burden this year. They would say that I haven't weighed them down, but my load has been too heavy for me to carry alone. I wonder if that's something I'm supposed to learn from this whole experience, how to carry one another's burdens. If so, then I have the best examples to learn from. I feel a constant outpouring of support and love, and for that I'm grateful.

I'd like to give a separate mention to Ryan, my best friend. I've been, well, let's just say not the ideal mother and wife of late. He has never, not once, not one single time ever showed me anything but support and love when I'm having a bad day. He's never told me to snap out of it, to buck up, or to get my butt off the couch and wash some dishes already, can't I smell them from the living room? Never said that, although I wouldn't be surprised if he thought it. He's been an example to me of patience, a virtue neither of us would claim as our own. But he's got it, for me anyways, and I'm so grateful for him.

So, thank you. Thank you all for being my friend, for sharing with me your troubles too so that I don't feel so alone. I'm going to try to be more like you, so that when you feel burdened, I can carry you. And I'll give you a copy of that song, so I'm not the only one crying in the car. :)


rachel said...

Thank you for sharing :). I am going to have to listen to that song. I really like the words.

Drake Steel said...

This was such a touching post that I couldn't think of a thing to add that would not distract from it. However, I of course did. A couple years ago in the Priesthood/RS lessons on President Kimball, I think, the lesson was on friendship. I remember thinking at the time that it seemed like a kind of small topic, but alas most of the things we do are because we are friends rather than obligations. I came across a thing about conquering addictions and the 12 step thing is the current popular one but an article said that loving relationships (or something like that), my words would be that you do it for people you care for. I've watched the Dr. Drew's addiction recovery shows and the people on them seem to be so alone, even though they are famous or perhaps just quasi-famous.