Thanksgiving redux

So, it seems that I have some sort of tradition of giving myself food poisoning every couple of years. On Thanksgiving Eve, I made some beef curry that turned out to be poisonous. Thursday morning was not a happy day as I eliminated the toxins from my body, but I still limped home to visit family. Thirty hours of sleep has a way of making everything feel better.

Our Turkey Day was on Friday and it seemed so muted and dull. It was as if we weren't thankful for mom's successful radiation treatment. It felt like it wasn't a holiday at all. Perhaps I remember Thanksgivings more dramatically than they were.

Prior to the meal, however, I still had an idea of what I was thankful for. I am thankful that God has a plan. Building this ship of life on a sinking plank may be bad, but at least I know there's a current under there somewhere.

I usually come away from family holidays depressed and sick of my family, but this time I feel better. I feel energized and ready for the next challenge to overcome.
I hear it, a whisper
ed secret for me
I can't tell
you what it is
because it's mine
I can tell
you it makes me


Thank goodness

I think ahead to Thanksgiving and a family tradition of going around the table and saying something that we are thankful for since the previous Thanksgiving. Though I know that I have much more to be thankful for than nearly all of my previous Thanksgivings, I don't know where to start. I have gone through so much since November 29th, 2007. There have been the highest highs and the lowest lows. A year ago I was 2 weeks from popping the question, looking to move out West, preparing to finish my degree, and contemplating whether I should move up the FedEx ladder or start a new career. Now I'm single, still living in Champaign-Urbana, further from my degree than ever, and struggling against bureaucracy to get my old job at FedEx.

I don't say all of this to gather pity, because I've earned more than I've lost, I think. On the other hand, I'm not bragging about how much I've done and what I've experienced. I'm trying to figure out how I'm supposed to thank God for all of the good things when He was responsible for the bad things, too. I believe that He does it all. I feel like I need to thank Him for the bad things. Though, somehow it seems wrong to rejoice for my mother's breast cancer or Rebecca leaving me. But aren't all of these things connected? Don't they all go back to a loving God who does all of this according to His will that we should also aspire to? If I'm to live in accord with His will, then shouldn't all of it be divine? "This is the day that the Lord hath made/Let us rejoice and be glad in it/This is the day/This is the day/That the Lord hath made"

The poet John Berryman offers the perspective that comes closest to answering my question, though it doesn't satisfy me:

From Minnesota Thanksgiving

For that free Grace bringing us past great risks
& thro' great griefs surviving to this feast
sober & still, with children unborn and born,
among brave friends, Lord, we stand again in debt
and find ourselves in the glad position: Gratitude.

So, I guess I'll just have to say that this year I'm thankful that I survived. I'm thankful that my wings did neither burn nor weigh me down



And so it goes

So, where do I start? This trip, that is, my adventure to the ocean and back, became something else entirely. Here are the highlights:

During preparations for moving out of my apartment, I ask my ex-fiancée if she would like to come with me on my silly road trip. She says yes. I also find out that I will be pushing back my trip in order to receive the highest individual award from FedEx. So, we travel to Kansas City to spend the night with my best friend, Mike. The next day our trip begins in earnest as we head north. North eventually gives way to west. West gives way to the Ocean. The days out to the Ocean were the hardest. We fought plenty, but we had no choice to continue on the journey. Upon arrival in Seattle (to a stirring rendition of the Star Wars theme song, sung by wild animals) things perk up. The Ocean gives way to the Ocean and we head south. South becomes annoying and becomes southeast. Once it becomes east, we are chased by a tornado and decide to go north again. This brings us to Colorado where we climbed a mountain and the truck blew out a brake line. Once that was fixed the direction became east again. Our last night camping was one of the best. We fed the fire with wood, stories, and understanding. The adventure ends where it began, in Kansas City. Eighteen days and 7200 miles later, we found ourselves in Urbana. Rebecca's job and new apartment were also born that day, August 21st. On that day, while moving boxes of belongings into Rebecca's apartment, my dad called. My mother, who had left on her own adventure just a day or two after we left for ours, had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Shocking information, to say the least. Her adventure, a study abroad program, took her to South Africa. She needed me to be there. We finished unloading the truck, and then I told Rebecca. After a great deal of crying and talking, I left for Charleston to develop a game plan with my father. The best flight appeared to be on the 25th, so I took it. August 25th I left for South Africa, though I arrived there on the 27th of August. The study abroad program was to last 3 months and my mother's radiation would last 6 weeks. I had one week in Cape Town, then 4 weeks in Port Elizabeth, where the radiation treatments began. I did the highest bungy in the world, twice, and learned to drive on the left hand side of the road. Port Elizabeth led to Cintsa, outside East London. Cintsa gave way to a 3 day safari. Finally it was back to Cape Town. I left South Africa on November 21st and arrived in Charleston, the city of my youth, on November 22nd. Total days between moving out of my old apartment and into my new one: 115.

Wow. My original idea was to just drive west until I got to the Pacific Ocean and then leisurely drive back. It seems that God had a different plan that involved three times the oceans and so much more.


a cosa

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