I’ve thought through many updates that I should have written but I’ve not taken the time to do the writing. I’ve been so busy enjoying my days that I’ve not wanted to surrender even five minutes. But I just can’t stand it another moment! I have to shout! My! Thankfulness!
This is the time of the year when we typically bend our thoughts toward gratitude. I was turned on to the power of gratitude many years ago by Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Simple Abundance. It was a trendy book at the time and one of her suggestions for cultivating an abundant life was to keep gratitude in the fore of our thoughts by recording things for which we’re thankful in a “Gratitude Journal”. I teach my students to do this and while I no longer journal gratitude every single day, I am careful to order my thoughts around thankfulness without ceasing; it’s become a habit.
My list of thanks has no end but you have to read about why I’m almost numb with joy. I’m in turns bubbling with giddiness and paralyzed with wonder and this is why:
One year ago my beautiful sixteen-year-old daughter was out of her mind. She was diagnosed with Schizophrenia and was in a psychiatric hospital for the first time in her life. I was out of my mind with shock and grief. For the next several months she was in and out of the hospital and no happy resolution was in our sights.
During her fourth hospitalization the doctor prescribed a new medication and after a two-and-a-half-month hospital stay she came home! The first few months were filled with blissful days but challenging evenings. D’Aurolyn still had bouts in the evening during which she would chase me out of the house with a knife or take off walking to shadowy parts of town.
Two months ago those bouts ceased. For two months we have seen an almost typical teenage girl emerge. Even the evenings are now a delight. She’s spontaneously helpful and makes appropriate conversation with family and friends. She takes the initiative to help with tasks like taking baked goods out of the oven and feeding the cats. The most challenging behavior we face now is her comparatively minor downward spiral in the evening as she tends to obsess over her hands with the belief that there is something wrong with them. Even with this sort of difficulty, she presses forward with her evening; often going to bed at around 7:30 p.m. and waking full of sunshine and cheer.
Friends, even the mass in her left temporal lobe is gone!
In the midst of the most difficult days of the past year I disciplined myself to focus on thankfulness and even gave praise and thanks for what we were facing. I wanted God to be glorified and the enemy to win nothing. It wasn’t easy. It was akin to running up The Jackson Street Hill (infamous with Quincy runners) at the end of a long run. But like running hills it developed strength and stamina; enough to share. And here we are running flat miles in the midst of great beauty. I’m drinking it in and thanking God for every moment.