I’ve had a lot of spare time since the university term finished. Time to binge watch TV series on Netflix, edit the student mission videos, and to think. I have spent a lot of time thinking. I think at other times in the year but when you have no commitments, no obligations, you think more.
And I’ve been thinking a lot.
A lot of crap has happened in my life and will continue to happen. I’m okay with that. I’ve learnt that you have got to get on with the cards life has dealt you. Amongst all the rubbish that gets thrown at me, I never stop to think about the things that are good. The things that make me happy. The things that keep me going through all this mess.
But as I’ve been thinking about my life, I’ve realised that I have a lot of good things in my life. I have a lot to be thankful for. Even the tiny things that I never thought about before.
I’m thankful for my sisters. I don’t know where I would be without them. When I thought I was going to drop out of university in first year, they kept pushing me to keep going. To reach for the stars and achieve my dream. To prove a point to social services and to society, that us care leavers can get a degree. I’ve cried down the phone to both of them, and felt bad as I’m the oldest; they should be crying down the phone to me but they’re okay with that. When I’m in a low spell, or my friends are being idiots or I don’t know what to do, my sisters always put a smile on my face.
I’m thankful for Aberystwyth. This place has become my home and I’m thankful that I finally have a place to call home. I can leave my house and two minutes away, I’m at the sea. This place will always hold dear to me, I love it with all my heart. Sure, this place is where some bad stuff has happened but I’ve got through it.
I’m extremely thankful for my church and church family. Before I came to university, I hadn’t been to church in three years. My faith was through the floor, I had drifted away from God and I didn’t love Jesus anymore. But when I arrived in September 2013, the first thing I knew I needed to do was find a church. And I did. I don’t class myself as a denomination, I just happen to go to an Anglican church. But it’s not the denomination that matters, it’s the meeting together with other Christians who can support me through my journey with Jesus and life. Worshipping together is something special. Without my church family, the past two years at university would have been much more difficult. Even if I don’t want to get out of bed, I drag myself from my bed to get to church because I know that when I’m there, people will support me.
I’m thankful for my godparents. We’re only just starting to have an adult relationship after not seeing them for 10 years. But I know that they will be there for me and my sisters. I’m thankful that they’ve offered me somewhere I can base myself. When I go and see them, it’s great to build a relationship.
I’m thankful for music. That’s quite generic but I am. I’m a musician, I picked up a clarinet at 5. Recorder at 6 and kept playing that until I went to secondary school. I started playing piano when I was about 9. I started secondary school and I tried the flute. When I was 13, I picked up an oboe. When I got given my mum’s guitar at 16, I started to play that too. Not only am I thankful for being able to play instruments, music allows me to loose myself. I can put on headphones, press play and forget about everything else. Music allows me to release emotions I wouldn’t otherwise. Music as a form of worship…music is my life.
I’m thankful for all of my friends. I write individual blog posts thanking them individually but I seriously love them with all my heart. Without them, I wouldn’t be here. Seriously. When I’m a mess, or struggling or simply looking for a hug, they’re there. My life makes some of them awkward and I wish that wasn’t the case but I know that they may not understand, but they love me. My friends are my life support (okay, well Jesus is my life support but my friends are my second life support along with my sisters). I can’t pinpoint exactly what I’m thankful for but I know that I will always be there for each and every one of them. I hope they’re the same.
There’s so much more to be thankful for, but amongst all the mess of life these are the things that keep me going.
What are you thankful for? Just have a think, if it’s a person – tell them. If it’s a place, spend time there. Life may feel a bit rubbish but there is some light, you just have to look for it.