This, could take a while.If I am fully honest, there is no possible way to narrow this down to one individual. I also know, that it is important to be considerate of the privacy of individuals. So I won’t mention names. Those who know me, will probably be able to guess anyway.
a) First and foremost, my parents. Both of them. Without them, I wouldn’t be here. I can say that in more ways than one. Not only for my birth, but for helping me escape from a bad marriage. From them I have learned more than can be written here. Dad taught us to fish as soon as we were able to hold a cane pole. Not only that, but how to rig your line, remove your catch and clean the fish caught. “You caught it, you clean it.” Mom taught me responsibility, loyalty and compassion. Both of my parents worked long and hard to have the things they have now. “If you want it, work for it. If you have a job, be the responsible, reliable employee they need.
b) Grandparents. We grew up living next door to my mom’s parents. They taught us extended love and respect. That adventure can be had with materials on hand and was only as limited as our imagination. That the best vegetables, were those you grew yourself and played a large part in their growth. Also that knowing our heritage and the stories they could tell were priceless.
c) My brothers. Such a pain in the nether regions while young. Such partners in crime and adventure while young. An incredible, priceless, indescribable treasure as adults.
d) My husband who showed me love but who also taught me tolerance and understanding. Who helped me get from one place in life, to a much better.
e) My son. If I were to try and list all the reasons why I am thankful for him, I would be writing for days. I will say though that he has taught me more than I have ever taught him. He has been my rock since his dad died. He has also been the ultimate pest, but done out of love.
f) Aunt. I have an aunt that played a large part in helping me many lifetimes ago. I’m sure she wondered about my thought processes then, but never questioned me about them. I have always wanted to be like her in many ways.
g) My step-daughter and her kids, who I miss terribly. Maybe someday.
h) Nieces and nephews. Those ready to step up and help in various ways. From tilling up a garden to cutting my hair to reading my latest ramblings.
Family through the blood of Christ.
a)From the men who have been Pastors of the church through the years to their families. Each have brought much into my life.
b)The various teachers of Bible Study. Who have educated me on the Bible and on what ‘church family’ means.
c) Fellow members who have always been there for me and my family when we have need. From helping us financially to helping remove a tree that had fallen on my son’s car.
How in the world, do I keep this list under some form of control? When you are a person who has been taught and held onto the lessons about being grateful, every person who is in your life for any length of time, be it years or mere moments, offer reasons to be thankful. Each individual moment, adds to our life in various ways. They can teach, uplift, encourage, strengthen us in ways needed at that moment. All meetings are not pleasant but they are important. If we only pay attention and realize this truth. If we set aside emotions and consider purpose.
a) Since childhood. I have friends I grew up with. I still hear from them from time to time, but life, as it has a way of doing, has sent us in different directions. The memories though of those times growing up are always fresh.
b) Since school. Same with friends from my childhood. I am friends with many on social media, but seeing them face to face is rare. The pandemic making that even more true. The memories of school are never far away though.
c) Work. I have worked various jobs in my life. Some I even enjoyed. Always, there have been friends made along the way. People who made working more bearable. My last job, the one I worked the longest, some of those folks were more family than friends. We worked, we laughed, we shared and we grew.
d)Online friends. Some of whom, I have never met and probably never will. Yet they hold a very special place in my heart. When my husband was alive and driving that truck, when he had a difficulty that I didn’t know how to handle, I knew people who did. They never failed me. Always stepping up and helping resolve issues. When he died, they were there for me. Contacting me, helping us financially, helping me get his body home. Checking to see if I was doing okay.
When we got our first computer, I discovered a pen pal page for a musical group. From that list, I made friends that I still have today. Life had taken us far in that time, so we may not chat like we once did, but we remain in contact.
After my husband died, in the years since, I have talked with gentlemen that have helped me progress through the grief. They may have no idea they helped, some I no longer speak with, some a comment here or there, but the fact they have helped me means a lot. Those who I have spent hours on the phone with discussing anything, everything and nothing. They have filled my lonely hours and helped me learn more about myself.
e) a friend who is more family than friend. We’ve known each other for years and have had some interesting conversations. We have helped each other and been there for each other. Looking out for and from time to time lecturing on dangers of various activities.
When you have a list such as that, how do you say, I’m thankful for so and so, and neglect the others? When the others have made contributions to your life that are just as important. How do you not recognize the ways that all those who have been or are a part of your life, help you to become who you are?
I have been in rough places in my life. Most often due to less than intellectual choices on my part. The people in my life have helped me to rise above the low places and reach for the mountain tops. They have showed me that I am better and more than what I have believed. In life, we are all connected in various ways. We can use that connection to improve our life and life around us or we can ignore or abuse that connection. We can work together to create a better society for all, or we can create or allow destruction. That is up to us as individuals and our attitude toward those around us. For me, I am thankful and appreciative for every family member and friend that is a part of my life. You help make it worth living.
Here are links to two sites. One with Bible verses on family, the other on friends.