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Not a Thankful List

Here I am three days before Thanksgiving. Everyone is counting their blessings, and I am counting the things I want. Big things... Out of my control things... Things I'm convinced I deserve... Things that cause fireworks of jealousy when I see others that have them. I don't want to be thankful. In some twisted way I think maybe I try to get back at God for waiting so long to answer my prayers by feeling sorry for myself. God, look how you're making me feel! I told you I couldn't handle this. You are the one that got me into this by giving me these problems without solutions. But really? Who am I kidding? Does God care about my grouchy attitude? Yes, maybe he's sad for the people that have to put up with me, but if I think I'm going to get God to join my pity party, He's one guest that will never show up. He wants me to come to his party... Where I laugh with my students and appreciate lunch or cookies sent by a mom. He can make me excited over a last minute youth deal, feel the peace in my heart when I sing with my class, be inspired by their devotions on Tuesdays, and laugh at their poems after they leave for the afternoon. He wants to show me all the little happy things in each day, and then at the end, he wants me to keep praying about the big things... Not push them out or even try to forget, but hope. That's one of the hardest things for me.... To let myself hope when I can't see anything. In my head I transform a loving God into I don't know what... Maybe a farmer trying to lure a stubborn donkey into a pen with a bucket of grain... Calling, shaking the bucket... The donkey slowly walks forward, step by step, lured by the promise, but never quite reaching the grain. He goes one step farther and slam, he's locked in a corral, but the farmer with the grain is nowhere to be seen. I know that all of that is a lie, but some days, I guess I believe it. Mostly I try not to... I do all the things... Read my Bible and pray... Write thankful lists... Take walks... But some days all that is no more than skin deep. I feel like my prayers don't go higher than the ceiling. I guess doing what I know I should without the feeling behind it is maybe better than nothing. If you know me pretty well and you're reading this, please don't roll your eyes and say, "When will that girl ever get over her trust issues?" And if you don't know me that well, don't call suicide hotline. This is an age old problem with me... Sometimes writing it out makes me see again that bitterness is ugly, worthless baggage. Why I keep picking it up, I don't know... But I do. I can't wait to see myself at 80, crying bitterly over every tooth I lose and being jealous of Sarah Jane with perfect hearing and no dentures.

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