It has been six years since the shooting at Virginia Tech (which is less than a hour from my house and Jeff's alma mater). In some ways, it feels like just yesterday; but, in others, if it feels like a lifetime ago... I wish I could write that our world is better today, that I believe we have made strides against violence and moved towards love; but, especially in the shadows of yesterday's bombing in Boston and the Newtown shooting in December, it is hard to find a positive spin. There is still so much hurting and so many unanswered questions.
Still, in the past six years... I have started my first teaching job, gotten married, raised a puppy, bought a house, earned my Master's degree, driven across the country, and become a mom. My life has been full and covered in joy.
I say my prayers and I try to be grateful everyday, but the truth is that sometimes I do get caught up in what feels "hard" to me and focus on the "messes" and the not great things in my life. I can be such a brat.
But, rather than feeling guilty, I am choosing, today, to pause to remember that even on my "bad" days, I have SO much that others do not.
I have been thinking about how I want to honor the victims of that day, and decided this morning (actually on the advice of our local radio DJs) that the best thing I can do is to be THANKFUL.
So, today, as a tribute to the 32 people that died in Blacksburg six years ago, I am remembering 32 things I am thankful for:
1. An amazing husband that is my perfect match and best friend
2. My silly little boy, who has taught me to love like I never knew I could and makes me smile a hundred times each day
3. Incredible parents who have given me a million opportunities, supported everything I've ever done, and taught me the importance of family and fun in all things
4. A close close friendship with my sister - my first (and closest) friend, my beauty coach, my "first call" in good or bad
5. An "second" family in Jeff's parents, brother, and sister-in-law that I adore and feel wholly a part of
6. My eleven college girlfriends - "my people," regardless of time or distance apart
7. Amanda - my oldest friend; a constant through all of life's changes
8. Our neighbors and the opportunities Sam has to live in community and play with kids his age
9. Sam's babysitter, Jennifer - who loves my boy so well and makes me feel confident going to work every morning
10. A house full of toys and dog hair
11. Addy - the best darn dog EVER
12. A job that I genuinely like and students that I love
13. Our church and the wide net of prayers and support from fellow Believers
14. My blog, the beautiful people I have come to know and love here, and the freedom to write
15. Warm water to bathe Sam in every night and take a shower every morning
16. Unlimited cell phone minutes and internet access to make the world seem small
17. My lifelong relationship with my Poppy - and his 4PM visits with a tangerine for Sam
18. Chickfila sandwiches and playlands
19. Coffee and sweet creamer
20. The park right behind our house
21. Target and the freedom I have to waste time (and money) there
22. My health
23. Good books and time to read them
24. Sam's ever-growing vocabulary
25. Fresh berries & diet soda in the fridge
26. Music class on Monday nights and the look on my boy's face when he plays the drums
27. Watching Sam dance
28. The opportunity to travel and see beautiful parts of the world
29. My education
30. More laundry than I can keep up with
31. Four beautiful seasons
32. Hope in God's grace and the knowledge that I am loved
Will you join me in this as a tribute and reminder? What are you thankful for? (If you make your own list of 32 things, please leave a link the comments so I can visit.)