First off, I'd like to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving! I know the first half of my year has been rough and this second half hasn't let up at all, in fact, it's gotten a little harder. However, in light of today, I'll make this post a little light hearted, if not for your sake, than my own.
Today I'm supposed to give thanks, right? Yet, what do I hear? Downstairs my parents are fighting about holiday foods and who needs to cook what and who hasn't cooked something...Also some sort of fight about eating the expensive cheese...Don't ask, no idea.
I, Zachary Love, in my corner of the internet, would like to give thanks to many things...
1. My friends.
This may be an easy or possibly hard thing to be thankful for, depending on who you are. However my friends Nathan, Carolyn, Caleb, and Amanda have all been very supportive of me this year. They know all the struggles I've been through, with cars, money, jobs, and relationships. They know that since Mikaela, I've had a bit of a break down, Who wouldn't though? I needed time. They have been here for me, cared about me, let me cry on their shoulders, and they didn't care if things got serious or emotional, because life is just that, at times, and not all about fun and games.
My friend Michael, who I go way back to August of 2012 with, is one man I feel like I was destined to meet. He prayed for me the night I gave my life to God, and he's been with me in my walk ever since. Not as much since Bethany and I departed, but he's still been here when I needed him, he is always here for me. I look up to Michael, respect him, and view him as a second father. I love that man and I would do absolutely anything for him to show my love and respect.
Ever since I gave my life to God and was an active member of church, I've had experiences with "Christians" and been learning, mostly the hard way, that just because you say you're something, doesn't make you that. Bethany was a cold look at that. In the harshest way possible, I learned that love isn't born in lust. And it certainly won't survive there. Even if God is around sometimes, it isn't going to work. I learned that if I'm going to be with someone, it cant start in the horrible way I chose to start it with Bethany.
Sidenote: Even as I truly believe my words, I don't see how Bethany got engaged within the following year. It makes no since how she found a happy ending and I didn't get anything from it. That's all I have to say about that though.
So to bring things back on topic, Even now, looking back at my time with Michael in my life, not even ONCE have I seen Michael give "being a Christian" a bad name. Just shaking his hand or having a conversation with him, you can tell he is a GREAT man of God and he isn't anything less than he says he is. He always told me we're all human, emphasis on MAN. He said nobody is perfect, not even him, but everyone has a choice in the decisions they make.
Michael taught me, and continues to teach me, that as a man of God, you're never done growing. Life gets hard or complicated, or possibly to good to be true, but it's our choice to make mistakes or make the sacrifices necessary to live in the blessing later. I'm more of a "here and now" kind of person, so I struggle real hard with that, but I'm not done.
So I am SO very thankful for Michael. He, and his wife Laura, are to good to me. They make me want to be more, even when I don't feel I can. And that's all a person can ask for in life.
I didn't really talk to Emily in High School, but after high school, I hired her at Lemon Tree. In the time we worked together, she became a really good friend. In fact, she was one of the friends I called in tears after Mikaela stopped being my friend. She has been so supportive of me and for some reason, she can tell when I'm vulnerable, like I'm standing behind a glass wall and she can see everything behind the firewall I'm trying to hide behind. I don't know how this world has it's crazy moments that you are thankful for later, but I am beyond thankful for Emily's friendship.
I have more friends I'm thankful for, but I couldn't possibly go through them all! I am so thankful though.
While I had my set of problems with my family, especially with my dad (and his side of the family), I still love them. I know they care for me and in the end, they'll never leave me. They love me enough to stay through the bad times. I haven't even seen them look down on me, which could easily happen considering what I've been though.
I don't know what I'd do without them, and honestly I'd be lost if I didn't have them. So I am thankful for them, so much.
While people are always the first and most important to be thankful for, I have my own set of extra's. I'm thankful for my job. Mikaela and I may not be communicating right now, for however long she decides, but it's because of her that I have my job right now. I didn't apply until she told me to try. And now I make 9.00/hr and I feel respected at work. I work with great people and I love my job. It has it's moments where it gets hard, but it's overall a great place to work! And I'd be a fool not to be thankful for what Mikaela did do for my life, however brief or small.
I'm thankful for my material objects. I have my game systems, which aren't cheap, and I'm thankful for the paychecks I have to afford them. While I know it's an optional purchase, I'm still glad I have them. They give me entertainment and without Netflix or Spotify after Mikaela ended things...I don't think I'd be here. The music provided lyrics which made me cry so hard, enough to cry out to God. And Netflix had comedy shows which numbed the pain and distracted me from reality. Without it, the pain would have brought me to my death, or if anything, it made the process a ton easier.
I'm thankful for my church. I skipped church again after Mikaela, but then felt like I was falling back into the rut I had with Bethany and while I truly believe Mikaela wanted me to be in church, she never once tried to pray with me or invite me to church. I felt like if I stopped going to church, I'd be ruining everything for myself again. I felt and still feel called to this church for something. I have no idea what for, but I keep going to service and feeling God's presence...But I know there's more for me, somehow, in this church.
So I started getting involved. I told Pastor JP that I need to keep myself involved, or at the very least obligated. So I helped the church move into their new building and I helped them clean up the place. Pretty soon, I'll be able to help in other ways too. I am just at the part of my life where I'm so confused, but I'm not helpless. And I'm thankful that I didn't walk away, but stayed in church.
I want God to prove to me that even when I lose everything...That he's still here. I never gave God the chance to prove that, but I'm going to see now. So far, I'm still doing fine. I'm still breathing.
And there you have it. While I live in this world where loneliness runs wild and despair brings many to their end, I have still been around.
I pictured the holidays a little different this year, but I won't play God anymore. That was a foolish mistake and I'm just giving up complete control now. I hope everyone has a great 2014 Thanksgiving. And if I can give you guys one small tidbit of advice before I go, its this.
Don't set an expectation in your mind months ahead. Life is a road with many turns, exit ramps, and valleys. You won't have 4G the whole time and sometimes, shortcuts aren't the best route.
Have a blessed day.