Foxholes & Vantage Points

I wasn't going to post anything else this year, but there's something I want to say.

It wasn't one thing; it was a thousand. It was good food and good people. It was a visit from an old friend. It was new music and making out; it was surprises in the mail. It was the chance to extend a hand to someone who needed it, and it was reaching out and finding a hand extended to me. It was finding this and laughing so hard that I cried. It was second chances and it was first tries and it was knowing with all my heart that none of it's deserved.

I'm nothing if not a foxhole spiritual. I don't pray often, and when I do, it's in moments of dire need-- usually someone else's. Sending up a prayer on my own behalf always feels like voting for myself for class president. There's a logic to it, but it feels unsportsmanlike.

But this week, there was no foxhole. There was only snow on the ground and a blue sky above, a home cooked meal and the generosity of strangers. Twinkling lights, gifts I didn't deserve, and a warm blanket on a cold night.

I came home and I cried.

"It's not luck," a good friend said to me, but the truth is that it is. I'm surrounded by so much goodness, and just when I think the world can't get any better, the walls of my heart expand that much more. And on this white Christmas, with carols filling the car, a grinning dog in the back seat, and two people who I admire more than I ever imagined I could, I thought: I'm not given these things because I am good, I am good because I am given these things.

I came home to a silent house. I took off my snowy clothes and climbed into the shower, letting the water warm my tired limbs. Candlelight danced across the bathroom walls as hot water coursed over my shoulders, and I thought of all your sacrifices, and all my selfish choices. I thought of all my reckless squandering and all my taking-for-granted, of all the times when I was wrong, wrong, wrong.

And suddenly the words poured out of me like a dam had fallen. I prayed not from a foxhole, but from something higher, a place from which I could see. I prayed for wisdom and for strength, and for some kind of magic to make me deserving of all these blessings that keep finding their way to my ever-expanding heart.


This week has been good.

I just wanted to mark it.

photo courtesy budgiejen, saharsh, gabriela_camerotti