Gratitude

I write incessantly regarding my experiences, my wishes, my thoughts, my passions, my concealed desires, my identity; however, the visible pattern within my writings emerges through the word “my.” My—there it is again—writings revolve around what some refer to as number one. Even in my works focusing on circumstances encompassing me, I unfailingly materialize in the center. So I take this opportunity to break free from myself.

If you read through the entirety of this blog, you may see joy, fear, anticipation, bitterness, forgiveness, and a commonly recurring theme of pain. While I do not as vigorously conceal my past pain as before, I do not always address it. I am here to reveal how the pain I experienced drove me to despair, loneliness, learned helplessness, to a knife, to thin bloody lines on my arms, and to the edge of a bridge. Yet I failed to perceive the enduring community desiring to support me through my agony. As I write these words of gratitude, it stems from a twinge of pain within me. It rises from my own intense desire to someday read similar words about myself. But instead of letting that pain end with me, I will create something of it, and I pray it inspires you to create out of pain for others instead of self.

I begin with my family. While they are not perfect by any means, they have surprised me in their reaction to my declared depression, some more than others. On the road of recovery, I elected to forgive what haunted me for so long, and while forgiveness is not equivalent to reconciliation, it frees the one who offers it from a supposed debt owed them. And while they may not fully understand my perspective, they still make an effort to stay in contact and show their love for me.

Through the high school years of sorrow, a girl emerged to encourage me. While not always present at any time, she never fails to find the words that I need in the moment. She never fails to come back and pick up the friendship exactly as we left it, no thoughts of the time spent apart except how joyful we are to exchange words of our time apart. Even a juvenile acronym for lasting friendship (WAFFLE – wickedly awesome friends for like ever) gripped my heart and has neglected to disappear from my memory throughout the years. Additionally, a guy appeared in sophomore year to come alongside of me with poems to compete with my own. Though he confronted me with brutal truths and harsh observations, I am doubly grateful for such approach to coax me out of my learned helplessness and back into the fight that is Life.

In the younger years of discovering freedom, I met an individual who saw purity in me that he refused to taint, and in doing so granted me a gift I can never dream of repaying. He offered approval of my choices and beliefs even while not agreeing with or abiding by them. Additionally, he allowed me to help him while he struggled with similar feelings as me, permitting sight into the person I want to be, community created in vulnerability, and the career I want to pursue.

Further down the road I encountered a teacher who complimented me on my unique view of the world. He was one of the first to tell me that failure and mistakes are permissible, as we are only humans after all. Hearing this from a respected elder has embedded itself in my brain and while I do not condone sin, I do not so harshly self-condemn for it either.

The individuals I can never sufficiently express my gratitude for are some of the most beautiful and wise people I have ever met. This group from camp may be equally as excited and overjoyed to see my gained freedom as I am, but I do not believe they know how intensely and deeply I truly Love them. Three women and two men who hold some of the closest places in my heart due to their display of Agape Love towards and for me. I will never forget their unconditional Love in truth and grace. Often people claim they will never forget words or actions of another, but they simply offer lip service to flatter another. I am appalled by simply the notion of such irreverent and dishonest words. Truly, the day I forget what they each individually have done for me will be the day I die.

At college I have discovered community in a couple places. In my roommates, past and present, I have uncovered support that appears in diverse manners. I observe support through blunt words, emotional appeals, admitting similar struggles, and unsuspected concern for me. While I have not always disclosed information they felt was important to their lives, they have remained present to support me, despite differences of core values. In the Christian community at college and at church, I have been adopted by elders as a child or grandchild or as a sister by peers. My words are insufficient to express my gratitude for those who have accepted me into their homes and lives to speak truth into my life and encourage me to stick to what I know is True.

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” ~Romans 12:10

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