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Thankful. People have been using that word a lot this week. As it turns out, this time of year is a good time to look at all the things you have in your life, to count your blessings, to name them all, and then to celebrate.

Lately, I've talked a lot about the emptiness that I sometimes feel. I've talked a lot about the open handed, bleeding kind of love. I've talked about my tendency to throw myself pity parties and think "Why is life so hard?" What has been missing from this narrative are the moments of deep thanks and satisfaction; the full moments, or thankful moments- if you like.

The truth is that I usually feel like one really lucky girl.

My friendships are the kind that you cross oceans for, the ones who let you cry on their shoulders, and the ones who give you pep talks but also tell it to you like it is. We celebrated friendship and life a few weeks ago when we all passed around Megan's baby. A baby! Our little friend group, our circle of love is expanding! We belly laugh with each other. We know what the other persons voice sounds like on the phone when one is crying. We want the best and cheer for each other through the victories and failures. We make space for each other in the brightest and darkest places in our hearts. We whisper pray together. These are my friends.

My family.

I mean, what else is there to say? Can I really describe to you how blessed I am with my family?  My siblings are also my friends. If I ever needed someone to fight for me, they would, but in the meantime they just invite me over when I'm sad, and give me hugs and then feed me. My parents taught us how to serve, commit, communicate and love. Their generosity continues. And even in my extended family the ties seem to grow ever stronger, the aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents are all woven into a blanket of affection that spreads out over a widening landscape and a prettier panorama.

My job means something to me. Every so often, on a difficult day, I close my eyes and remind myself that this job was unexpected, and that it popped up in front of me. I had literally been praying for a month, "God, I don't know what's next so please just bring something and put it right in front of me." And tada! This job happened. The weight of people's fear and pain is hard sometimes. I'm still sorting out how much of "each others" burdens I'm supposed to bear. I have, on average, cried once a week since I started this job. But over half of those tears were shed over Hope rather than sadness. Deep down in these difficult places I felt a sense of awe. Being there during death is BIGGER than I ever thought it would be, and it makes me believe that God is bigger than I have ever let him be.

My home is a place where rainbows light the sky after the rain, where clouds peel off of the mountains, and where the ocean changes colors and rolls onto the shore. But my home is not here, or in Peru, or really anywhere. I don't feel like I fit here anymore. That feeling never went away, even after the "culture shock" of coming back to Orange County. My friend Josh calls this a state of Holy Discontentment. The real realization that we are just square pegs trying to fit into round holes wherever we go. So, I don't feel completely "comfortable" anywhere anymore, but you know what, I think that's ok.

If I open my hands in thankfulness and celebration then it's easier to look for the ways that life is a blessing. It's easier to see possibility and growth. It's easier to appreciate the good in the people around me. I'm remembering that today. I'm remembering all the ways that I am full.


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