Monday, December 6, 2010

Thanks Giving?

I walked downstairs the other day and there, sitting on the counter, were the remains of our Thanksgiving dinner.  The final bits of stuffing, the last drips of gravy, the oft leftover gelatinous clumps of cranberry sauce sitting in their small plastic coffins awaiting a final trip down the drain.  Just seeing it made me a little sad.  Sad not only because I would no longer get to eat those delicious leftovers, but also because celebrating the holidays away from your home, away from your family just kinda sucks a little.

I immediately start feeling a bit guilty.  Thanksgiving should make us happy, right?  Its right there in the name, we should be giving thanks for all the great moments we experienced during the year, for the friends and family we have, for the people that helped us or the opportunities we had to help others.  We are supposed to sit around and share these stories and think about how great the future will be.

Regardless of the memory, the story, the moment, it should always be a happy one, right?

So I took some time away from my pity party to think about all the good things in my life, and I realized something.  Many of those good things sprung out of some horrible times in my life.  Moments that I would rather not remember.

I love my family.  I am married to an intelligent, thoughtful, and extremely talented woman, TheVWM.  I have 3 of the greatest kids ever: smart, funny and even though the have they spend a bit of time fighting with each other, they truly love each other.   I have a wonderful life, but if I hadn't knocked her up while I was in college, without a job, without a home, without any means of supporting her, much less the baby, I KNOW we would never have been married and I would not have these great kids. I was desperate, she was desperate.  We were babies having a baby.  Our worlds were collapsing, futures disappearing, but looking back, I wouldn't change it for the world.

Oh, and how about my career.  I was going to be a football star.  My plan was to finish playing at UOP, get drafted (or at least get an opportunity for a try out), play professionally for a few years, retire, and be a high school coach.  Football was my life.  I spent hours a day in the gym, at practice, in meetings.  I chose football over my studies, over my son, over my wife, over everything, and they dropped the team when I had one season left to play.  No worries, I went to play somewhere else, but they screwed up my transfer so I couldn't play.  One dream destroyed by two schools.  I know it seems frivolous, after all its just a game, but that game was my entire life for years.   Now I know that if someone else hadn't killed the dream, I might STILL be trying to get that chance, and I never would have spent 10 years working as a cop, helping people, and hopefully, making a difference.

Then, well, I guess it was about 12 years ago that I found myself at the end of my rope.  I was losing control of  everything.  The wife and I were not in a good place, honestly I thought it was over.  My second born had spent some time in the hospital because of seizures and I was powerless to do anything.  The finances started to fall apart, along with everything else around me.  I spent several months in a very deep state of depression, shutting out everyone around me, but in the midst of all that, someone was there for me.  That someone changed my life and started me on a journey that has landed me here in Costa Rica trying to celebrate Thanksgiving.  Jesus.

Now lets be real, I have left a lot of details out of these stories for time and really for my sanity.  There are moments in my life that still are hard for me to talk about, but when I look back on them I see how they helped shape me and I am not sure I would change any of them.  I guess I just want to learn to be thankful for the not so good memories, the not so great times, the not so nice people in my life, and since I can't think of a better way to put it, I will just say what I really feel,

I am thankful for the shit.
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