Friday, November 23, 2012

the morning after

.....THANKSGIVING!!! Get your mind out of the gutter ya big lugs!!!!!!!!

I woke up this morning in the after-bliss of a food hangover. Hazy memories of a bacon turkey, mashed potatoes, homemade stuffing and pumpkin pie filtered through my clouded mind and I felt content. And I waited. I paused and I waited and immediately a string of complaints flew through my mind.

I feel fat.
The sun is like, SUPER bright.
Ugh, what do I have to do today?
I should clean, I hate cleaning.

And then I stopped. I scrunched my eyes up tight and pulled the covers over my head and breathed deeply. And I prayed just a simple little prayer, nothing out of the ordinary or grandiose - none of that kneeling by my bed, hands clasped tight, eyes even tighter, praying deep into the night. (not that I never do that, there's nothing wrong with that, this was just a little different prayer).

Lord, help me feel thankful. 

One simple prayer that holds a lot more than five words. Lord, help me feel thankful.....STILL. I should've added that word there on the end. Still.


Yesterday we all gathered around tables with people we love, people we care enough about to spend a holiday with. Maybe we held hands, maybe we bowed our heads together and said Grace and thanked God for the food and prayed for all of those without meals. Maybe we felt safe and warm and maybe a little warm buzz from some wine or cider. 

Maybe we watched "It's A Wonderful Life" and cried because George Bailey is both the kind of person we want to become and the kind of person we want to spend the rest of our lives with.

And then maybe we drove home with our roommates or our wives or husbands or boyfriends or girlfriends or alone. Maybe we climbed drowsily into bed and fell into a deep, deep food coma. (thosethingsexistidontcarewhatyousay).

And then we wake up today. And it's Black Friday, the day when people literally claw out each other's eyeballs to get stuff. I'm not saying if you go Black Friday shopping you are an idiot or a materialistic pig. I'm just saying I don't get it and I'll probably never, ever do it. You do you, I'ma do me.

Today some of us forget yesterday and this whole theme of being "thankful." I sure as hell did the minute I woke up this morning. Thankfulness wasn't even really on my mind. God wasn't on my mind immediately. STUFF was on my mind immediately. Always stuffstuffstuff. 

But I want to practice Thanksgiving every day and not just on some Thursday in November. I want to be thankful! And I KNOW! Okay, I know this is a cliche sentiment and we all say this every single year and then it fades and we just shrug our shoulders.

But we have to say this - we have to think this. If I stop saying it, if I stop praying about it and asking God to help me be thankful, well...then what? I just stop being thankful? I stop working towards thinking differently, thinking better, healthier? I don't want to continue everyday just "waiting" until I miraculously feel thankful all of a sudden. And I know it's a process and that's exactly why I think we have to be active about it. 

* * *

When I go running, I run to the water. It's 3.5 miles to the ocean's edge, and 3.5 miles back to my apartment. I don't run these 7 miles every day, but sometimes I'm feeling a long run and I pass on my usual 4 or 5 miles around my neighborhood and I run straight to the water. I feel my legs carrying me every step - feel the rhythm they beat on the pavement. I feel the sweat on my face and the sun beating against my back and I imagine what my lungs look like as the help me breathe in and out in and out in and out. 

When I get to the water I stop. I let the Santa Monica breeze play with my unruly hair and I listen as people pass by me jogging, walking their dogs, talking to their friends about their days. But I look at the water. I ask God, "Why me? Why do I get to live here? Why do I get this kind of life?" I think of all of the decisions we make and how they lead us to where we are. And um, IT'S FREAKING BIZARRE? Do you ever just sit there and think for a second where you are RIGHT NOW IN LIFE AND HOW CRAZY IT IS THAT SOMEHOW THE UNIVERSE BROUGHT YOU TO THAT EXACT MOMENT?


When I go running, my mind clears. Sometimes I pretend I'm in a movie montage, because who doesn't do that every so often? But mostly I run and I think until my mind is actually clear. It's so easy to dissect ourselves and our lives. It happens to me constantly - the minute I leave a party or hanging out with friends, I scrutinize my every move. I think, "Was I too loud? Was I too obnoxious? Did I say 'ya big lug' just one too many times? Should I NOT have started dancing like an old man which I call my 'creepy old man dance' and sometimes people don't appreciate it?!!!!!" We freak ourselves out with OURSELVES. We can't do that anymore. We need to sit back and think,

I am worthy.

I am not perfect. I am flawed.

I am God's creation. 

I am thankful. 

* * *