Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Simple Things...Gratitude Runs Deep

I’m not sure why the melancholy comes during the holiday season. Perhaps it’s the remembering of an unsettled childhood…or perhaps it’s the recognition of things left undone or that can never be. I know that the holidays provoke within me a deep sense of sorrow, gratitude, yearning, wonder, love, tenderness, peace. The amalgam of emotions is so…so…diverse it’s hard to settle on just one.

I am grateful for so much…my life, in many ways, feels like a fairytale. I often feel as if much of what IS happening is a bit surreal. This small baby of mine, Girls on the Run, is growing exponentially thanks to the support of so, so many loving, passionate and caring people.

And yet, now as I write to you I feel this tug to remember, honor and celebrate those individuals who have given much to me over the years…who are often not directly linked to my work…but who have impacted it without even knowing. The list is infinite but here goes a small first try:

Hank: My boy, my son, young man. You have given much of your time, your story and your own life…so that your mom can travel the world sharing her heart with so many others. I know it’s hard sometimes being my son. You are trying so hard to navigate the waters from little boy to strong man, just as any young man would, but to do this in what often feels like a world with a thousand eyes watching…I know this can be challenging. I love you my boy. I am grateful for your strength.

Helen: My girl, my daughter, young woman. You have joyfully shared me, your Mom, with thousands and thousands of other girls…and at times I know this was challenging for you. Yet now…yes now that you are a young woman, I’m beginning to see you joyfully share yourself with the girls in Girls on the Run. I am grateful for your willingness to step up.

James: My ex-husband….yeah YOU! We’ve been through a lot over the years, but I think we’ve graciously come around full-circle to the place we now occupy. I’ve been reminiscing a lot lately about the early days of Girls on the Run and frankly, my friend…it would have never had the wings to fly had it not been for your willingness to, at least for the short term, release your own professional aspirations so I could heed the call. I am grateful for the lessons we learned and the space we now occupy.

Connie…James’ wife. Surprised? Not really. You are so strong. Take away the connection we have through my children and just give me you. You have served as a role model for me in so many ways. You are a strong assertive and noble woman who has shown me, more times than you realize, how to stand up for what I believe in. I am grateful for your power.

Lacy, my dog, my friend, my confidante. Honey…you’ve been through all of it with me, my new life as a single mother, the fears, the tears and the growth…and remained loyal, loving and present. You are an old woman now and your leap isn’t quite what it used to be. You tire easily, but you are always right there next to me, even now, you rest at my feet as I write. I love you sweetie and am grateful for your unconditional love.

All the children, spouses and “extras” connected to Girls on the Run. I recognize the work we do is intense and at times, pulls your wife, mom, father, partner away from time with you. I honor you for allowing them to do their work and change the world. You are as much a part of that change, as they are. I am grateful for your understanding.

Chase, Matt, Maggie, Suzy, Tripp,Josh, Blake and the many other young men and women who have helped care for my children when I travel. I’ve often said that it takes a village to raise my children. You have all, in your authentic and uniquely-spirited way shared a piece of yourselves with my children, who have through knowing you, grown, matured and become the people they are becoming. I am grateful for your ability to love my children and to be there for them, when I cannot.

Gloria, honey I saw you yesterday and maybe that’s why you are on my mind today…my homeless friend, who sits with me and my children, for an hour or more, to share a cup of hot chocolate, on those occasions when the world brings us into the same physical space. You are so bright, so genuine and so beautiful. You have welcomed me and my children into your unique and sometimes frightening view of the world...the turmoil of your childhood, the choices you had to make to just survive remind me, my dear, of why my work is so important. You have brought more gratitude into the minds, bodies and souls of Hank and Helen than you realize. I am grateful for your beauty.

John, the caring and tender “bag boy” at our local grocery store who always asks about the kids first and then my work. People like you are the salt of the earth, my man. Your disabilities soften you, open you and reveal your vulnerabilities in a way that comforts, soothes and welcomes others into your space. You keep me grounded, hopeful and recognizing how contented we can be. Over the years, your kindness has garnered quite a following. You help me to see how we can change the world…by how we treat one another…in the space we have been given. You remind me that my work is simply the accumulation of one relationship after the other...each as important and meaningful as the other. I am grateful for your hospitality.

My evolving relationship with Big Mama. Big Mama is the big me, the Divine me, the One who has stuck with me through thick and thin. The older I get the more I come to appreciate HER presence in my life. She is nameless really, but a powerful, powerful force which has carried me through it all. I am grateful for Her/My/Our evolving connection to and love for one another. Big Mama, we are in this together aren't we? My work exists because You do. What's next to challenge, love, push, pull and enrich us? I love you.

Oh…the list could continue forever. Really. Forever. The gratitude within me is welling up, over and flowing from every cell of my body! Joy to follow, Love to lift and Peace awaits! Who are a few of the less-often-thanked individuals who have impacted you? Will you have some time today to thank them? If not for about in thought? Go on. Give it a shot. Happy Thanksgiving Ya’ll.

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