I know we don’t observe Thanksgiving Day in Jamaica, and I also know it has a dodgy history in the States, but I believe in gratefulness as a principle, so that’s what I’m focusing on today. Studies have shown that there are many great benefits of gratitude, from improving your self esteem to helping you sleep better. And who can’t use some good sleep in these stressful times? The Bible is also replete with verses about giving thanks, even in the midst of discouraging circumstances, and as a Christian, gratitude should be my very nature.
Except it’s not always my default. Sorry, God.
I’m working to overcome the spirit of complaining and murmuring that I’ve grown up nurturing, so it’ll take some time. I’m getting there, though. And that’s something to be thankful for. Yay for small victories! In the spirit of not complaining, I’m not going to moan and kvetch about the valleys and the absolute tragedies that have happened to me this year. Instead, I’d like to express my gratitude for things that have gone right, pleasant surprises, and the strength and courage to make it through those aforementioned hellholes. So, here goes:
1. My faith. There was a point in the middle of this year where it was just over for me. OVER. And I know in the deepest part of my heart that if I wasn’t at this current place in my walk with God, I wouldn’t be here to type this post. Maybe one day I’ll get into all of that, but I’m so thankful for the work that God has been doing in my life over the past three years. In the words of my beloved church sister Sinach, I know who I am, and I know Whose I am, and the knowledge of these truths blocked and snuffed out the fiery darts of the devil when he came for my soul, allowing me to just keep swimming, even though I took in a lot of water and almost drowned.
2. My family and friends. Especially my sister Tiphany and my ace Keresa. Y’all know. I could not have made it through the depths of hell I was in without you two. Even my very ‘special’ father jumped in with both feet to help rescue me. My mother, whose prayers helped keep my head above water. My sweet pastor and her husband. Jodi. Tyrone. I’m in tears thinking about how you all have helped to patch me up and keep me lifted.
3) My bronze medal in the JCDC Creative Writing Competition. Not bad for a story I was still finishing on deadline day because Writer’s Block had become my new address.
4) Kim Cash Tate’s books. I discovered this amazing sister’s books while going through my valley and in desperate need of distractions. I was looking for diversions, but in her stories, I found women (and men) after God’s own heart and lessons that I have written down to help me on my own journey. Kim, I thank God for you and thank you for allowing Him to use you in this creative way. I can’t wait to link up with Treva, Lance ‘nem in the next installment in the series.
5) Kristene DiMarco’ and Cody Carnes’ albums. Music is a healer, and Where His Light Was (Kristene) and The Darker the Night/The Brighter the Morning (Cody) have been lifesavers in the midst of woe. I love every song on both albums, but if I’m pressed to name faves, they are I Am No Victim (can I get two amens?!!), Fear Not, Never Ever and Take Courage (WHLW); and The Cross Has the Final Word, You Hold It All, Wait Here and What Freedom Feels Like (TDTN/TBTM), which makes me bust out the cha cha cha in my head. It feels good to dance, even if it’s only in your head. Thank you both for pouring out your hearts and testimonies in music.
6) Being invited to join the launch team for Jordan Raynor’s Called to Create. I’ve written about this before at length, and reviewed the book here. It was such a surprise, and one of the truly bright spots in my year. Thank you, Jordan. And the book is now a national bestseller, y’all!
7) My ministry work. I’ve had the privilege of sharing the gospel with a number of people over the past couple of years, and I’m grateful for the part I was able to play in the life of one of my neighbours, Jacqueline. It was heartbreaking to get the news that she died, but I can rest assured that she is with our Lord and Saviour now. I’m thankful that I obeyed the Spirit that day and stopped and prayed with her, because I don’t know how I’d have ever forgiven myself if she had died outside of salvation when I had been led to minister to her.
8) New seasons, new beginnings. I’m in the process of transitioning back into the 9-5 world, and I thank my Jehovah Jireh for opening doors of opportunity for me.
I watched the #BlackPanther teaser trailer an hour ago and I'm afraid my face has frozen in this expression. Oh. My. Word! My word, my sentence, my paragraph! I am still rendered inarticulate by the bold black beauty, brilliance and badassery I saw. The sheer potency of all of it. The stunnnnniiiinnnngggg #DoraMilaje. LUPITA!!! Michael B. Jordan looking so foine I'm finna cheer every time he's on the screen, like he ain't one of the villains. T'Challa arcing through the air in sleek feline form. I am verklempt. I am unable to can. I've watched it 50-leventeen times. I've watched it in slo-mo just to soak up the visual splendour of #Wakanda. The costume and makeup teams better win AWARDS! #RyanCoogler!! Sir!! #iwasntready I need this movie like yesterday, dagnabbit! I'ma watch it every day for a week at Carib. Idc, Idc. #blackpanthersolit #shutupandtakemymoney
9) Black Panther anticipation. Because I want to close on a much lighter note and fangirl out a little. Y’all will deal. The posters, the teaser and the trailer have me a way, star. And the whole buildup has been a really awesome distraction. I’m not a comic book fan. I don’t fall over myself to watch the latest superhero movie. But this one? Mi de a Carib pon mi yielash di same day it drop so I can luxuriate in all the Melanin Magic! Can it be February 16, 2018 already?!
So, that’s a portion of my list. Who and what are you thankful for today? Be sure to express your gratitude, even if it’s just to say the words “thank you.”