American Failures and Canadian Thanksgiving

photo 1 The title of this blog post is not a reference to politics or the government or anything like that (obviously; do you even KNOW me?). Instead, it’s a reference to how I didn’t want to get out of the shower this morning.

The shower in my current home is an excellent place to hide. It’s basically a tiled cave, dark and quiet. And wet. It’s not big enough for anything but you and water, which makes it easy to ignore the outside world. So when I’m stressed or annoyed or frustrated I take really long showers.

For example, this morning’s long shower came after a week full of failures. Some of them were transportation-related: my car battery dying, another’s car dying on the side of a Texas highway in the middle of the night, my bike tire punctured. Other failures were relational, not because of anything I personally did but rather what I was unable to do for others because I’m human and not God. Then there were the financial, the emotional, the physical, and finally, the nutritional (see: yesterday’s lunch of BBQ potato chips). The culmination was when I spilled water on my computer trackpad for the second time in six months, probably ruining it. I don’t want to talk about it.

So, instead of going to the gym, which I had repaired my bike tire to do (edit: I failed at repairing the bike tire, as I found out later in the day), I decided to get out of the house. Instead of going to the cool coffee shop in town, where I go when I want to appear awesome and hipster-y and true to my Portland roots, I went to the down-home, farm-to-table coffee shop that has chocolate chip cookies.

Because, chocolate chip cookies.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in Canada. I called my parents, who grilled steaks instead of making a turkey. I think the Canadians have it right; who wants a major holiday so close to Christmas, like America placed it? October is perfect for Thanksgiving: the start of fall and the harvest, with two good months before you get to the madness of Christmas.

Because I was feeling like such a failure in every sense this morning, or rather because so many things were failing around me (entropy, man), I decided to claim my Canadian roots–which are nonexistent, but imagined when helpful for me–and write a list of what I’m thankful for. In many ways, this is more for me than you, and I’m sorry for writing such a self-serving blog post. But maybe you can say “me too” to a few of these.

Right at this moment, I am thankful for the following:

–Chocolate cookies, because, duh. Chocolate chip cookies.photo 2
–Tea, because everything’s brighter with caffeine.
–Mugs with Chihuahuas on them (also, the person who decided how to spell chihuauhua. That word is ridiculous).
–Coffee shops with older people in them, just hanging out and eating pie like they deserve.
–Cloudy skies, even though they make me miss home (though home wouldn’t have 90% humidity).
–Scarves that I finally feel justified in wearing because it’s 75 degrees, even though I would have worn it regardless.
–Songs that say exactly what I cannot (see: The Head and the Heart, “Rivers and Roads”).
–Facetime, which lets me see the faces of the people I love instead of just hearing their voices.
–Snapchat with the sister, because who doesn’t need a six-second clip of Seattle college students singing the guitar solo from Bohemian Rhapsody.
–Bicycle tire patching tutorials online, for those moments when I need specific mechanical knowledge. (edit: I take this one back)
–A home that is cool when it needs to be, warm when it needs to be, dry always and cozy always.
–A computer that keeps me connected to those I love and those I’m starting to love and those I hope to love.
–A support system near and far, digital and physical.
–The joys of laughter and the endorphins it releases (that’s a thing, right? I don’t know anything about the body).
–Wisdom from others that tells me I’m not crazy or if I am, they are too so we’ll just be crazy together.
–Marker-points on the journey that appear and say, “Keep going, friend. Keep going.”
–The chance to get to know a new culture, even when I crave the familiar so much it hurts.
–The opportunity to study what I love, even when I forget that I love it.
–Texas. Even on days when I don’t feel like being thankful for it.
–Same goes for this university. And this town. And this community.
–Oregon. That town, that university, that community. Even on days when I know I’m being sentimental and not realistic.
–A body that moves and breathes with no pain, that gets me to where I need to go and want to go.
–A mind that processes and works and wishes and dreams and hopes.
–The flowers above that I walked past on the way in to the coffee shop.
–Literature, and life, and joy, and chocolate, and hugs, and jokes, and moccasins, and talking about things that matter and also the things that don’t.

There are a zillion more things that I could be thankful for, and I should be thankful for. But sometimes you just need to list a few to remember that you’re in a good place, because you’re here and alive.

Thanks for indulging my thankfulness. Being thankful is not easier than being grumpy but it’s much better. It helps us remember that even though everything is falling apart, we can pick up the pieces and make meaning from them. Even find beauty in them.

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6 thoughts on “American Failures and Canadian Thanksgiving

  1. And this beautiful little girl that I knew that conquered cancer before she even knew it, who used to eat stuffed crust Pizza Hut pizza with me, now grown up into a brave woman who’s learning how to fly. Happy honorary Canadian Thanksgiving sweet Sara!

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