In the leftover season of Thanksgiving, I thought I’d share what I’m most thankful for this year. Certainly, I’ve had quite the adventures lately. Amazing opportunities to live in cities I wouldn’t have seen myself in just a year and half ago. I’ve met the most amazing, and intelligent people. I’ve experienced so much joy. Today, it’s the culmination of the experiences that have defined my life that I’m most thankful for.
I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I know that I don’t always understand that reason. In fact, I would venture to say I don’t fully comprehend any of it. I don’t know how things in my past, will affect my present and my future, but I know that it’s important to be thankful for those things. I’m thankful for all the events that lead to me moving to Arkansas, for every loss and every goodbye, for every friend and foe, for relationships that didn’t work out, for every class I’ve struggled through, for every bridge that was burned and rebuilt, for every lesson I’ve learned, all the people I’ve met, and the places I’ve seen. It’s all of these things that have made me into the person that I am, laying here in bed, right at this very moment. I don’t particularly think I’m a great person, but I realize where I am and where I’ve been to get here. I look at my past and I know that today will become my past as well.
Everyday we grow and we learn and we figure out and we take those things with us. We have to forgive, we have to love, and we have to be adaptable to whatever comes with each passing day. Today is here, but tomorrow is coming and I like to think that tomorrow, I’ll be better than I am today.
So here’s the analogy I have: mountain climbers. I’ve never climbed a mountain, but I imagine it to be very difficult. Life is the mountain and at the beginning we start off at the bottom, naked and new. As each day passes, you learn more about this mountain. You experience the failures and you make your attempts better and smarter. And maybe you’re at the bottom for a long time. Who cares? It’s not a race it’s a challenge. And each time you fail, you learn something new. You have this new tool. Knowing what doesn’t work, is just as important as knowing what will. All these experiences become the gear we need. Pretty soon we’re clothed and have spikey shoes and a helmet and a rope and you’ve made friends who are also trying to climb this mountain. You now know what they know and together you’ve tried together and struggled together and succeeded together. And even if someone leaves your pack, you still have what they knew and the experiences that you had together. It takes everything to climb this mountain and now it seems completely possible.
It’s going to take all of our resources to get through life sometimes. Part will be easy and parts will be hard, but without knowing how difficult parts have been, we won’t appreciate the parts that aren’t so bad. And without remembering the struggles and all the time we spent at the bottom, and every time we’ve failed, we won’t appreciate the view at the top. And we make it to the top, and satisfaction has a sweet taste.
I think that God gets us there. That He hands us mini challenges to accomplish this overall goal. And maybe the mountain isn’t all of life; maybe this mountain is just the first. Maybe when we get to top, God shows us all the other mountains out there just waiting to be climbed. Either way, it’s a team effort. And challenges will bring out the best and worse in us, but it’s how we move forward that matters. It’s how we make these experiences count that matters.
I love you. I’m so thankful that I have you to share my experiences with. I’m thankful that you keep me accountable. I’m thankful that I have you to help me remember all that we’ve learned and to be on this journey with me. Where ever and whomever you are, we’re in this together and you are loved.