Saturday, December 4, 2010

30 Days of Thanks

The campaign over, and my online communication now unfettered, I'm back to blogging and looking forward to writing some more again for fun. With Advent having started recently, and fresh of being made a Postulant for Holy Orders in the Episcopal Church, I'm taking an idea from a twitter friend and starting something called "30 days of thanks." Each day I will post something for which I am thankful. In these times, especially in the consumeristic run-up to Christmas, it does well to remember that giving thanks makes you happier. In addition, being recently unemployed and now job hunting (anyone have anything??), it won't hurt to keep my mind focused on positive things. Keep checking back, there will be new content every day, and in all likelihood some of the folks reading this will be mentioned from time to time. Now, with no further ado, here is day one!

1st Day of Thanks, Housing!
I'm writing this sitting on the couch with my absolutely delightful Boykin Spaniel (his article is coming), watching hockey on TV, soccer on the computer (Soccer's article is coming as well), and looking at an absolutely beautifully decorated Christmas tree across the room. Having this fantastic shelter is doubly nice as there is currently a heavy snowfall going on outside, an oddity for this time of year in central NC.

Our house is a couple of houses from a bus stop, and yesterday while Sarah was on the front porch making a Christmas wreath, a young kid, maybe 18 or 19, walked up in the 28 degree weather wearing just jeans and an oversize oxford shirt. He asked if he could come into the house since he'd been waiting for the bus for a while and had another 20 minutes in the freezing weather outside. Sarah offered him a jacket and came to get mine. For reasons both obvious and less apparent (we had a seeming attempted break in a few weeks ago at 5 am when she was home alone) she was understandably nervous.

I asked him if he wanted a drink or anything, and got him some water, and we all sat out on the porch for a bit. I talked with him some to pass the time and he mentioned that he was, as anyone should suspect at this point, mentally challenged and mentally ill. It also came out that he was on his way to check himself into the hospital for rehab (or possibly just a warm place to spend the night). His sister lives in Raleigh, but he doesn't have her number and doesn't speak with her and seemingly had nowhere to stay. In spite of this he was working on his GED and is trying to do the best he can with the lot he has been dealt in this life. Sadly, he is only one of the many living in the downtown area who don't know where they will be spending each night, or where their next meal is going to come from.

I feel like there are a couple of things I'm thankful for, and I'll list a couple of them here. I'm thankful we were able to do something to help this kid at all, he clearly needed it. I'm thankful I haven't had to face many of the challenges he has, and I'm particularly glad I'm not strung out on whatever it is from which he needed cleaning up.

But mostly, I'm thankful for my shelter, and that I'm not homeless. Especially in this season (both Advent/Christmas and winter) I'm glad that I am out of the elements, out of the cold, protected from the hazards of the streets, and able to stay warm and dry and safe no matter the weather. Beyond that, I'm grateful that my girlfriend has fantastic taste and know-how and our place is wonderfully decorated, even on a particularly tight budget. It's comfortable, welcoming, and very much a home. I can't imagine the stress, both mental and physical, of not knowing where you will be spending each night, and so today, with snow falling outside, and temperatures dipping to the low 20s, I give thanks for the home I am fortunate to have.

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