I am grateful for my husband Daniel. This year has been crazy, with the fire forcing us to live in temporary housing (two different locations) and all our things in storage... Even though he's had a lot of new work and stress between housing and his job, he's been there for me. And he's allowed me to be there for him. People say that this kind of disaster shows who you are and tests your relationships. If that's true, I have to say I married a truly good man, and I am incredibly fortunate that he not only puts up with me but brings out the best in me, helping me grow both in good and in bad.
I am so grateful for the new friends and closer friendships I've made this year. I've finally grasped that there are two kinds of friendship, those where you say "I thought I was the only one!" and enjoy knowing someone who gets all your jokes, and those where you say "I don't quite understand how you respond to things, but you're awesome" and learn to take someone else's experience of life on faith, as it were, and have them do the same to you. (Yes, I'm going to write a whole essay about this soon.)
I'm grateful for the experience of those like and unlike me in faith this year: my madrigal choir group, my church friends, my Young Family peeps, my catechism class, my spiritual director, the awesome women who joined me to study Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life this fall, old friends I've connected with, authors Elizabeth Johnson, Emily Freeman, Wendy Farley and James Michener, and my precious, insanely intelligent husband. I am a better woman, better writer and better follower of Christ because I've encountered each of you.
I'm grateful that I'm learning not to make universal constants out of how other people approach or experience life. That I'm learning to include those different from myself--something I've tried to practice for many years--without needing to reject who I am, or to make myself small and invisible, or to say that I don't need people to recognize who I am and support me in that as much as I want to support them. I guess I could say I'm grateful that I've finally figured out that I'm worth as much as those around me. (Thank you, God; thank you, friends; thank you, Daniel. I'm a slow study but I'm getting it now.)
I'm grateful for all the small things: a bed to sleep in, Netflix streaming, Doctor Who, new books to read, my Anglican rosary, my family and my in-law family, sunshine and rain and brilliant sunrises in Indiana, the Internet and email, my job and my union. I'm grateful for the ideas that pour into my brain these days, inspiring me to write and speak. I'm grateful to be alive and to be learning every day how to live and love and embrace everything, messy and wonderful and full of grace.