Thanksgiving of the Heart

I didn’t expect my English Conversation Club to leave me in tears tonight. 

To sit around and listen to what each person was grateful for moved me to a next level completely. There were moments that were vulnerable, raw, and pure, all shared between students that had never even met each other before. It was  beautiful to hear those simple things that these students were grateful for – especially for family, and for the unconditional love and the sacrifices family has made for them. One student, who attended his grandfather’s funeral last week, told us that he appreciates the time spent more than anything, and urged those of us who still have grandparents in our lives to reach and call them, because it’s possible that your grandparents love you even more deeply than your parents.  

On my way home, I cried and called my mother. Then, I called my grandparents to let them know just how much I appreciate them. I surely do not deserve the love that I have been shown. 

Truth be told, I knew this week would be difficult: to be away from family during a season such as this is never easy. Physical distance becomes emotional distance when you realize the moments you miss out on, and that pang of realization makes you cherish your relationships all the more. Perhaps it even allows you to see those relationships in a new perspective, and makes you all the more grateful. They say “you never know what you have until it’s gone.” My relationships are certainly not gone, I could certainly say that “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

I’ve been blessed beyond measure to have found a sense of family here in Arad in less than two months that I’ve been here. I surely don’t deserve it, but you can be sure that I’m immensely grateful for it. 

This week, while there might not be any physical Thanksgiving celebration, I carry thanksgiving in my heart – a thanksgiving to be lived out every day. Wherever you might be reading this, I encourage you to reach out today to those people in your life that you are most grateful for and let them know exactly how you feel. Reach out in love now, because you never know when your next opportunity might be. Life is short and tomorrow is not promised. 

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