An exercise in gratitude.

Last week was a monthly event I attend called Theology on Tap. It’s an event I’ve worked and been a part of organizing with Emily Hull McGee for several years. She and I collaborate on various topics over the years, but the rules are always the same. It’s a safe space to question, express, and participate in an open conversation over drinks and food outside of church.

Gratitude Exercise from Dec 2013 Theology on Tap

Gratitude Exercise from Dec 2013 Theology on Tap

Last night we discussed Gratitude. She had us do a thought exercise and reflect on this past year and put down something we’re grateful for each month. I don’t know if you can easily recall those moments in your life, but I struggled. It’s not something I used to have issues with, but I think the busy-ness of life really showed how hard it is. So I thought I would write a blog post about a few things I’m really grateful for this year.

Steven and David - Ault Park 2012

Steven and David – Ault Park 2012

Steven – Steven and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary of being together last year. I’m not the best at showing how grateful I am to him, but just as many relationships go, it has it’s ups and downs. It was a milestone for us. As we quickly approach six years, and the thought of getting married (we got engaged in July after DOMA had been found unconstitutional by the Supreme court), we continue to grow together as a couple. We’ve seen each other through work strife, sick pets, and hard conversations, but we’re still here.

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When I proposed to Steven in the weeks following the DOMA announcement.

Family – I know I don’t express my gratitude for family often enough. I miss them and I’m bad at showing it. Living in a different city definitely changes things, and phone calls and visits help… but it never feels like it is enough. I’m thankful for adult Easter egg hunts, Wick’s pizza parties and haunted houses, becoming a savage race champion, reconciling with cousins, and random calls (including facetime calls from my niece!).

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Me, Steven, Amanda, Corey at the Savage Race

Work – I complain about it. I know I do. I say I’m ‘really busy’ and how I’m stressed sometimes. These complaints aren’t always serious though. I’m incredibly thankful for the job I have. I have more opportunity than some people have had, and I am aware. Sometimes though, I lose focus on how lucky I am to be working and being really happy with my work life. I have a fantastic team, a super awesome boss, and earlier this year, I was very discontent with my job. I turned down job offers, had hard conversations with my boss, and was shown that I’m valued. I apologize if I’ve ever seemed ungrateful for my work, sometimes a bad day or week can really get the best of someone though.

Dilts Bachelorette Party - Nashville 2013

Dilts Bachelorette Party Selfie – Nashville 2013

Friends – I’m blessed with some of the greatest friends both new and old. Some I haven’t seen in a long time (Heyo TMC Friends!), some I see too much of… but what I love about my friends is that no matter how much time passes, how many things change in our lives, when we do see each other again, it’s like nothing changed. A few highlights… this year I got to see Tommy and Kyle in Massachusetts, Jeremy in DC, Sara and Jake in San Fran, and one of the 4 classmates from undergrad that I hadn’t seen since we graduated (Renee!!), Angela¬†got hitched where I participated as a brides-man, becoming closer Bob and Brent who have helped Steven and I understand that relationships aren’t easy, but that we’re not alone!¬†For all my friends out there, thank you for being there for me. You all showed your support in my engagement with Steven (I never felt more love than some of those messages y’all sent me both publicly and privately). I look forward to keeping these relationships and creating new ones. Especially over board games.

hbc

Church – I’m thankful for my church. They teach me patience, friendship, and challenge me to do better in the world. They are there when I need them, and even when I don’t. So many beautiful people who I’ve come to realize are my family away from Cincinnati. Like any relationship, we’ve had some tough moments this year, but our love and respect for each other keeps us together and focused on (as my pastor would say) ‘the work of love’. Here’s looking forward to making more happy memories at my church home next year!

mandysundrunk

Mandy – 2013

Mandy – This one is the hardest one to write about, which is why it’s last. I’m thankful for my dog. This little one has been in my life for the last 17 years, and coming to terms with the idea that she may not be with us at the end of next year has been hard. Every little missed step, the fact she doesn’t wait for me at the door coming home, and that she prefers to sleep alone where she preferred to sleep beside me for more than half her life. It sucks. She’s been there for me. She’s licked away tears. And I am doing everything I can to be there for her at this point in her life. She has cataracts, a heart murmur, and doesn’t like to be touched. But I will shower her with love until I can’t anymore.

Thank you for reading! Is there anything you’re thankful for this year? Have you reflected on this year? Would love to hear some of them in the comments below.

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