Thankful for Thanksgiving

It sounds a bit redundant right?

But it’s the simplest and most straightforward way to express my heart this Thanksgiving.

Because I almost didn’t have Thanksgiving. 

I spent the last week in Mexico (my first time back since I’d lived there and left) soaking in the warm afternoon sunshine and legit tacos and time with some of my favorite humans on Planet Earth. I intentionally bought a return flight for the Wednesday before thanksgiving—because ya know—Thanksgiving isn’t really a thing in Mexico. And as much as I really would have loved more time with my friends south of the border, I also couldn’t bare to miss my very first Thanksgiving back in Seattle.

The day was all sorts of crazy town from the beginning. Changed flight times turned into canceled flights and fog that set everything behind. Originally I should have had something like a five hour layover in Mexico City where I planned to catch up on all sorts of work and write this article. Somehow this layover disappeared all together and I found myself with my luggage at the end of a very long Delta line right back where I’d started much earlier in the day. That was after a lot of waiting and a lot more trying to explain the situation with some super rusty Spanish, but before we all realized that my old boarding passes with my customs documentation attached to them were upstairs at that desk.

I was exhausted and on the edge of tears for most of the day. I was frustrated and feeling a bit helpless and definitely wishing that I could let down my guard and throw a full on temper tantrum in the middle of the GDL airport.

Kicking and screaming about how I hound make it home for Thanksgiving.

See anything wrong with that scenario?

Thankfully—no pun intended—I caught myself rather quickly. Kicking and screaming and crying and complaining about the one day of the year that’s meant for the very opposite of those things. The day that’s meant for looking past what we don’t have and all of the things that are not as we wish and seeing all that we should be thankful for in spite of. A day for rejoicing and laughter and saying thank you because in spite of everything, we are so crazy blessed!

So. I took a deep breath and kindly and calmly explained to the gentlemen (in some off the wall Spanglish) why it was so important for me to get home that night—no matter how late it was. I told myself over and over again that whatever happened was supposed to happen and either way I would spend my favorite holiday with people that I love. Maybe it would be in gray and rainy Seattle on the edge of the Hood Cabal, maybe I’d find myself somewhere in between with friends in LA, or maybe I’d be blessed with one more day beneath the palm trees with sweet friends in Mexico. Either way, I’d be thankful to have landed wherever I had.

Finally, I found myself on a slightly delayed 6PM flight to Seattle via Phoenix. I did get an exit row seat which came with extra leg room and no seat buddy from GDL to PHX. There was no time for food and barely time for a bathroom break and I landed in a middle seat for the three-ish hour flight to Seattle, but I was so relieved that none of that mattered. I would make it home just in time for Thanksgiving after all. I just barely caught the last train to the city and when I arrived in my neighborhood my phone was dead leaving me with no way to call and Uber, so I dragged my oversized purple suitcase six cold and rainy blocks and collapsed in my apartment. No matter—I was so thrilled to be home.

And I thought as I fell asleep that night...have I ever been thankful for the actual day of Thanksgiving? For the opportunity to give thanks at all? That it’s a day that I am given just to reflect on the innumerable blessings and mercies and kindnesses He gives.

Have I considered what true and genuine thankfulness comes out of? Where it comes from in me? If it’s genuine or fickle? Based on my circumstances or facts and historical evidence—if my perspective is in check?

Because if it is—our perspective that is—than I would have seen my whole day in the airport a lot differently. All of the things that went right and all of the people who were kind and my God who made a way when there seemed to be none. That’s what I would have seen. That’s what I want to see and hold onto always.

What I have not what I don’t.

What goes right not what goes wrong.

When people are kind and not when they aren’t. 

And so this year, I’m thankful for Thanksgiving. And not just for turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie, but for the day itself. That it exists and that i have 10 million reasons at least to celebrate and observe it every single year. That I got to spend it in Seattle at a beautiful lake house with people I adore. I’m thankful that even if it wouldn’t have gone this way and even if I weren’t writing this article from here right now, I would still have so much to be thankful for—so much more than I could ever need.

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