Thursday, November 22, 2012

Ten Things I'm Thankful For

It’s easy enough to worry about future plans, things I haven’t accomplished, or “stuff that might happen.” But today I want to be intentionally thankful for what I have. 

      (image credit Ron Cogswell)

1.       I’m thankful for my health. I was diagnosed with cancer in 2009, and completed treatments later that year. My doctors have told me that I should be in the clear by now. I’m surprised at how many lives around me have been touched by cancer. I’m glad that I've been able to understand and empathize more closely with those who have been touched by it. I’m glad that I seem to have been healed.

2.       I’m thankful for my wife. I’ve been married for almost ten years now, and we've grown closer together as friends all along the way. I’m married to a psychologist, but this is a good thing. For one, we understand each other’s work pretty well. More importantly, though, we’re usually able to use our “clinical listening” skills with each other. It helps misunderstandings turn into communication more quickly.

3.       I’m thankful for my faith and for a community of friends with faith. About a year and a half after I completed cancer treatments, a doctor reviewed a preventative scan told me that it looked like the cancer had come back. About a month went by between that scan and a confirmatory scan; in that month, I asked my friends – at church, on Facebook, at Game Night – to pray for me. People did. The confirmatory scan was unable to find anything. A year and a half later, and nothing has recurred. So, I’m grateful for what I choose to interpret as a healing, but it’s actually far more than that. I don’t actually know what happened within my body – whether God healed me in response to prayer, or whether my body healed itself. But I do know this: the support of my friends brought me through my treatments in 2009. And somehow, faith in God helped me weather the storm of a possible recurrence of cancer without being shaken. I am thankful for faith that helps me stay grounded in difficult situations.

4.       I’m grateful for family. I know I’m loved. It’s strange to see generations shift. I used to be the youngest generation. I’m not anymore. The thought strikes me that, although maybe three or four generations are alive at any one time, if I live to a ripe old age, I’ll have known family members in seven different generations. That’s amazing.

5.       I’m grateful for seniors. As a college freshman, I met “The Colonel,” an octogenarian who lived on campus, and took walks with whoever would join him. I grew from hearing his wisdom and being around someone so patient and gentle. He has since passed away. Someone wrote a dedication to him, and said that college students would often approach the Colonel thinking that he needed a friend; when they left, they realized that it was they who needed a friend, and the Colonel filled that role. Since knowing him, I’ve enjoyed long conversations with many seniors. They have much to share.

6.        I’m grateful for traditions. Jack-O-Lantern hamburgers on Halloween, family gatherings on Thanksgiving, watching the ball drop on New Years’ Eve… these have all been magical times in my childhood and continue to bring joy to me today.

7.       I’m grateful for social work. I stumbled into it almost by chance, but I love journeying with people, being a support, helping them find the strength within themselves to do what they want to do.

8.       I’m grateful for blogs! What a strange thing to say, but it’s true. The last few months have been a new experience for me. I've spent several years working in foster care adoption, but in the last two or three months, I've read heartfelt posts by birth mothers  birth fathers  adult adoptees, adoptive parents, embryo donors, embryo adopters,  and families that have adopted (or live!) internationally. I am learning from what I read, and am getting a broader understanding of the positive and negative experiences that folks have had with adoption.

9.       I’m grateful for a yard! I've lived in dorms and apartments for the better part of a decade, and just recently moved to a house with a yard. I like being able to be outside underneath the green, yellow, red, and then absent roof of elm leaves.

10.   I’m grateful  for Thanksgiving. I really needed to take time to be grateful, and I’m glad that there’s a reminder built into my calendar.

What are you thankful for? If you've made a similar list, please link to it in the comments; if you haven’t, feel free to just use the comments here!


  1. Thanks for sharing all these lovely thoughts. :-) I too am thankful for all the blogs that provide an on-line community for learning and growth. The world needs more committed and caring social workers like yourself; thanks for this resource.

  2. Thanks so much for commenting, Camille. I'm really glad that so many folks took time to be thankful this year. It raises spirits to be around (or to be reading) folks who are actively positive :)


Open Adoption Blogs