Trying to live love well through the power of the Everlasting.

“What are you thankful for, Ethan?”

My family has a dinner tradition. As we sit down at the table for dinner, we hold hands and my father asks us all in turn what we are thankful for tonight. Generally, we’re supposed to answer with one thing that we’re specifically thankful for in that particular day, but my youngest siblings always try for some cop out like, “soccer” or “water” or something. Dad lets it slide once or twice, but invariably he’ll guide us towards his vision for the exercise: to unite the family in gratitude and reflection, and to encourage us to learn about one another’s day. After we’ve all said what we’re thankful for, Dad will share his thanks, and then he’ll say grace.

I used to hate doing this, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve found that I’m rather attached to it. So in the spirit of Dad’s nightly exercise in gratitude at our dinner table, and in honor or Thanksgiving Day, I’m throwing out some reasons why I am grateful in this season of my life.

I am grateful for my parents. They love me, and that well. They seek my success, and not my ruin. They want to see me launch into all that God has planned and prepared for me. I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for the generations that have worked hard to keep this farm that I live on here. I’m thankful for the love and support I get from my extended family.

I’m thankful for my job. I have a job. That’s more than many can say. Thank God for that. It’s paying the bills. It’s getting me back on my feet. It’s nowhere near as glamorous or crucial as I always dreamed, but it’s here.

I’m glad that I have friends. Through thick and thin, there’s a few true blue companions that have always stuck by me, even when I’ve not stuck by them. They’re much more than I deserve, and I don’t have words to express how I love them.

I am grateful for humanity fully alive. My days are filled with the trivial and shallow. I get home and flop in front of the computer and find sweet sustanance in the beautiful creative expressions of artists, authors, speakers, and more. Blogs, songs, paintings, videos, articles, and more bless me, challenge me, move me. The other night I returned home after an exhausting and frustrating day at work and switched on Pandora. My station played Gustav Holst’s “Jupiter” from the Planets movements. For eight minutes and eight seconds, I sat unmoving. Eventually tears slid down my cheeks. By the end of the piece I was reborn; the power of creativity, and the window it gave me to the Creator, brought grace and strength for the next ten minutes to me. I was okay. (By the way, I highly suggest clicking here to listen to it.)

I am grateful to the Living God. Papa, it’s you. You’re the central pillar. You’re the definition of reality. Forgive me for all the times that I forget that. Thank you for all that you’ve given me; all that you’ve done for me. Thank you for the beautiful disaster of a life I live out. Thank you for your faithfulness to me throughout it, regardless of how badly I screw it up. Thank you for your love. Thank you for who you are, and what that means. Thank you for what you’re doing. Thank you for what you will do. Thank you for the relationship you’ve forged with me.

That one’s a really, really big one. Thank you for the relationship that you have forged with me.

Thank you, Papa, on this day of Thanksgiving.


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