What I am Thankful For

I am thankful for…

All my life I’ve been surrounded by good fortune. Even in the moments where I felt lost and angry I was still surrounded with a halo of light ready to guide me down the right path. Family, friends, pets, opportunities, sunlight, food: I’ve always had all the privileges necessary for a healthy life.  My life has had more ups than downs; I will always be grateful for my fortunes. 

This Thanksgiving, however, I find myself grateful for friends and the courtesy of strangers. Between the unyielding winter unleashed in Wyoming this year and a few issues with my bulky SUV, I found that I was somewhat barred from seeing my family this Thanksgiving break. Yet when that festive Thursday rolled around I was not sitting alone in my two-bedroom apartment eating leftover pizza with only my fish and a candle to keep me company. Instead, I was sitting at round table listening to the lively voices of a family that had just met me the day before.

This is kindness. The shared laughter, home, and food with a family that thought I was worthy of sharing such personal things with. Perhaps they shared this kindness with me because I knew their son, or maybe they would have let anyone through that door. Regardless, I spent the break with a heart as full as my stomach. 

Even before the gift of a warm home, I was given another kindness from a stranger. While driving to my local dollar store in the snow I struck an unidentified grounded object (UGO). My rear tire was completely destroyed. As soon as I pulled over into the shadows I man popped up out of nowhere. Although I was initially shocked at the appearance of a random man from absolute shadows, his kindness turned out to be exactly what I needed at that moment. I probably could have figured out how to change the tire, but this random man did it quickly and with good humor. He did more than change my tire in the cold snow. He took away the cold gripping panic stuck in my chest, banished pessimism from the moment, and revealed the kind nature of humanity. I somehow felt better after ruining my tire than before. As a person filled with paranoia, it was comforting to experience such kindness with zero strings attached.

Strangers scare me; they are unknown and dangerous. But I am also grateful for them. For the man that let me have the pole on the bus, the woman who picked up my ID for me when I dropped it, and for the classmate that complimented my outfit. For the man that didn’t take a flat tire as an opportunity to harm me. And truly, I am grateful for the family that made sure I didn’t feel alone on Thanksgiving day.

To the kind strangers walking Wyoming’s streets, thank you. 

 

*All photos courtesy of author*