The Road Trip to Recovery: A Crash Course in Gratitude

“I never understood that love is nothing unless it is expressed.” — Duncan Jepson All the Flowers in Shanghai

20 years ago, around this time, my father was preparing to embark into the job-hunting world to seek a better salary which ensured we would not have to chew our dry nonfat milk forever and eat macaroni and cheese that came in no-name brands, or blandly unlabeled white boxes. When my father decided to marry my mother, way back when I was a young grasshopper in 1989, he made a commitment to making sure the lives they built together would be one of devotion and sacrifice. I realize now that love has been demonstrated by my parents to all of us, and to each other in odometer form. The miles my father drove back and forth from New Hampshire to Maine to see his wife each weekend while he worked to fuel the flames of our new life three hours away. The hours they sat while transporting me to see various schools, friends who lived over the mountains in highschool, and to and fro this and that. When I began to drive, the gas dollars I logged visiting family and friends ten hours from my school, gazing out the window of a Greyhound to see my aunt at Thanksgiving. Back and forth my parents flew from North Carolina when my dad first moved here, again to start a new path for them. He graciously took my belongings in a fully loaded car down south so I could have the freedom to choose my next venture, following France. I realize now that when you are driving down the highway of love, it is not SIMPLY about this offering of roadsigns and rest stops, it is also about the way you express yourself throughout. It is about not complaining with each painfully pulsing muscle, whining about the dehydration, moping along through the plane delays, and glitches, it is in fact quite the opposite…

That being said, GRATITUDE.

Expressing thankfulness even through the experiences which seem less than pleasant. For each one, each night spent sleeping on a bench in the Georgia airport, clutching the small plastic knife by your side in case you have need for protection, each hour that drips by as you sit rigidly waiting for your bus, must not be spent grinding our teeth, furiously watching as seconds melt by slower than a slug on a piece of sandpaper. They can be instead rejoicing that we have teeth. Embracing an opportunity to take in one more bit of life, with actually no obligations at the moment, no where to go, nothing to be, perhaps spending the moments thinking about the person you are about to unite with and find all the reasons to be completely and abundantly thankful for them. Maybe just taking time to breathe.

Gratitude. It’s a word I need to remember to express at every juncture. Green lights and red lights both deserve my praises.

This morning, I want to say THANK YOU, to my Mom and Dad, for all those miles you’ve traversed for me, for all that you have fostered in me, and for all the many ways you continuously listen as I stumble upon the signposts that guide me further along in my own personal journey.

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