Christmas Gratitude

It’s Christmas morning.

And I’m sitting here in the coffee shop I’ve become a regular to over this past week while I’m in town visiting family for the holidays. It’s a coffee shop I frequented with my sisters and friends as a teen when I lived here growing up… before the great escape. I’m sitting here, looking out the window at the train tracks, which I used to consider to be one of the cooler and more unique things about the area where I grew up. Granted, many would say that they love it here. It’s home for them.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

I think that’s why I struggled. It was never “home” for me. I always felt trapped here. I felt like life here was stagnant, suffocating… Living and working here felt so dead. There was no life here for me. No one comes in and no one leaves. And that truth was horrifying to me. It’s the kind of place where people live their whole lives, never truly seeing the outside world. Never learning. Never growing. Never aspiring to be anything beyond their very small borders. I’m disgusted even as I reminisce about this.

Here, there’s poverty, oppression, and injustice… And people are OK with that… And that’s not to say that you shouldn’t try to be grateful with what you have because I do believe we should be grateful. But I also know that we are able to make changes in our lives to live better. But not here. You live and die here, pretty much in the same state of living the whole time.

Only a blessed few get out and can testify to this. But those who know… they will back me up. The world is different outside of the dark bubble. It’s so vibrant and alive out here.

The best thing about being back here in this city is its reminder. It’s like a monument to visit when you need to remember. Remember what life was like. Rememer when you hated life as it was. Remember when you thought you’d never get out. Remember the pain.

And then remember that you got out.

Or maybe you haven’t. Maybe you can’t. Or maybe you feel like you can’t. Maybe you’ve never considered it. Maybe you want to and don’t think it is possible.

Thank you, God, for maybe’s. I love them. They are little beacons of light. Rays of hope that all is not lost.

You’re still breathing. You’ve still got dreams in your heart. There’s still hope.

And so… on this cold Christmas morning…

I remember the pain and grief of that scared little girl’s life. I remember the loneliness. The hopelessness I felt even as a child. The oppression. The dark nights. The fear.

I remember where I come from. I remember where I started. I remember how far I’ve come. And I remember that I haven’t arrived yet either. I remember that there’s still life to live and give. There’s still hope for a future.

There’s still love and joy and healing.

There’s still hope.

Merry Christmas, dear friend.

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