I sat on my back door step, the smell of garlic and rosemary a heady cloud around me. Luundu sat the same, separated only by a wall. We talked as the night closed in, each occasionally getting up to check our ovens. The conversation flowed in and out of silences, twisting and turning along new threads as it does when you're getting to know someone, moving from acquaintances to friends. Our laughter floated into the lemon branches hanging above our heads.
We talked of what we want to do, who we want to be when we grow up (and agreed that neither of us have really grown up yet). My own self assurance of finding a school I like and getting in, of then finding a good job, came out sounding not confident but cocky and presumptive. I work with many people who are just as intelligent and driven as me, but what often seems luck of the draw has left many doors open to me and shut to others just as deserving. I was born with a full house while many people I know are betting on a pair.
I've seen people posting 'daily thankfuls' on facebook, getting in the spirit of the holiday, I suppose. I decided at the beginning of the month to make some sort of grateful post, but staring at this paper, I'm overwhelmed by all there is to be grateful for. It can be easy to lose ourselves in complaints and wants, easy to blur the line between want and need. But it's also easy to drown in the mass of need that is out there, to find yourself one of the lucky few with no justification of why life is intrinsically and naturally unfair. There are times when all you can do is be grateful, humble, and pay it forward.
So to you, reader, I have two requests. First, I ask that you close your eyes and take a breath. Savor it, the way it feels, the way you feel. Be grateful for that, because living is pretty amazing. Second, I ask that somewhere in this crazy season of love and friendship, commercialism and glittery lights, you take a moment to pay it forward.
I am thankful for: Getting this opportunity to work and learn in Zambia; all of the time I was given in Mali and the pace of life at which I was able to slow down, recognize it, and appreciate it; love and support from family and friends back home; people scattered around the world that I can call family - the generosity of the human spirit continues to awe me; being born in a place where I'm given so many opportunities, so many little things we take advantage of; clean water; skype; being able to go back to Iowa for Christmas; travel; my health; so much more. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
Peace & Love