Some dialogue with a friend who’s been following my journey made me realize tonight that I should never take all the good parts of my story for granted. I’ve been finding it cathartic to be honest about the bad parts (some of which I’d kept bottled up all my life), and a few others have indicated that it’s been helpful to them, so I plan to continue. But I’ll try to remember to bring out all the good, too. I still have faith in humanity. I think the human heart is a treasure chest full of the most lovely gifts and graces, even though we all have flaws and even though evil does exist. So many people in my story, from my earliest memories until now, prove that point. How did I make it this far, through all the struggles? I really can’t take credit for it. It’s my family and friends who have walked with me through the whole journey, even when I couldn’t see them. Here are just a few of the countless ways I’m thankful.
I’m thankful that my dad worked so hard to care for me and was so passionate in teaching me so many things – how to hunt and fish and work and ride and play baseball, how important it is to live with great peace and purpose and certainty in a world that can be confusing and scary. My dad truly loves people and I learned from him that the people in our lives are infinitely more important than the things. I think that lesson is one of the most important things a parent can give a child.
I’m thankful that my mom always taught us, by word and example, to stand up for those who are weak or disabled. I’m thankful she read good books out loud to Dad and us kids every night before we went to bed. As a homeschooling mom, she didn’t just teach us, but she taught us the more important lesson of how to teach ourselves. She’s very devoted and loyal to her family. When they speak of a mother’s unfailing love, they could have used her as the model. I’m thankful that both my mom and my dad allowed me the freedom to roam and discover my wild Wyoming home.
I’m certainly thankful for a fearless, inspiring older sister, too. Cassie shielded me from so much and was always willing to take on anyone who would try to bully me or be unkind in any way. I felt safe and loved when I was with her. She taught me to never back down when you know you’re on the right side. My first great adventures in life were with her as my trusted and fearless leader and friend. In a way, she’s always been my hero.
I’m thankful for my brother, Torrey. He was younger by two years, but he was a true equal (and capable rival) in every respect. He always pushed me to better myself. He always had my back. He taught me that the truth is worth ardently seeking and defending, and that feelings can never trump right reason in that pursuit. He demanded consistency between one’s words and actions, and hated hypocrisy; so when he did give his approval, it really meant something. He truly is himself, he doesn’t change a thing about himself to seek the approval of others, he’s always honest and consistent when he gives his opinions. Without his influence in my life I’d be a worse man.
And of course I’m thankful for Heidi! She has such a soft and tender heart, so much empathy. Whenever anyone is in emotional pain around her, she hurts with them so much that it drains away some of their pain and they receive healing. She brought out a creative side in me that my self-doubt might not have allowed to grow without her. I would spin fantasy worlds, knights and castles, detectives, secret societies, and she would enter them so fully that I was like, “Hmm, this imaginative side of me must be worth something after all.” So it gave me the confidence to nurture my artistic side. She’s such a faithful and giving person and her heart helped me through many difficult times.
And Sarah brought so much joy into our lives! I’m thankful for her, too. She’s undaunted. She looks life right in the eye and laughs. For anyone stuck in a down-in-the-dumps sort of condition, she’s the best medicine. All her students love her and that many kids are pretty much never wrong about that sort of thing.
I’m thankful for my cousin Emmy, who was willing to take me as her brother, for better or worse. In some ways I’m a Davis sort of child (the maiden name of both my mom and Emmy), so she knew me in a way that not many people would have been able to. She just kinda got me more than most. She always truly tried to hear my voice, she didn’t just jump in to give her opinion or critique my view without real understanding and careful reflection. I’m thankful that I had such a constant friend during some of the hard parts of my teen years and beyond.
I’m thankful for my wife, Nicole, who fits me so well in every possible way. I’m so amazed that I, of all people, was given such a precious gift. She’s a strong woman, and I admire her for always refusing to let anyone else think for her, but still being willing to learn from others. She takes perfect care of all three of us. She’s the yin to my yang. She respects me, stabilizes me, anchors me, inspires me. She’s pretty much the bomb-diggity. I mean, who else could handle my wild, unrestrained heart for ten years and counting? 😉 She saved my heart and keeps it beating every day.
I’m thankful for my son, Mishael. I don’t know how I got by without him all those years. He treats me like a real person. He respects my opinions and offers me his own. He’s sensitive to others and very protective of his sister. I love his wit and dry humor, I love discussing novels or movies with him, I enjoy his company. No father could ever be prouder of his son than I am of mine.
I’m thankful for Ariel, my princess. She has so much love and optimism in her heart. She sparkles, she shines, she’s got galaxies in her eyes and a flame in her heart. She lives fully and passionately. She loves with all her being. Her will is granite but her heart’s as soft as butter. Joyful words float out of her like the fuzzy seeds from a dandelion, when you blow on it out in your yard on a hot summer day.
That’s just scratching the surface, and I already feel like a very blessed man. I’m not alone. So many people know me and love me. You all are my blessings. I’m thankful for you.
A late goodnight, all, or an early good morning as the case may be. DFTBA