For this little muscle beating inside my chest. Thank you for its resilience, for its strength. Thank you for helping it beat, through every Stairmaster workout, through every terrifying scene in a scary movie, through every kiss, through every morning when I was so so tired, and didn’t want to face the world. Thank you for giving me physical strength—to overcome obstacles, to push myself, to never quit. Thank you for my emotional strength—to let people in, to forgive, to share love with others. Sometimes I forget how amazing this muscle is, bringing oxygen to my body, keeping me alive, reminding me that even in my humanness, I am powerful. And helping me to love, and keep on loving. So thank you.
Hands to touch, to hold, to hug, to cherish. Thank you for the times my parents have held my hands in theirs, for the times I could brush my sister’s hair, or throw a softball, or reach across a quiet space and place a palm on the cheek of a lover. Thank you for the ways my hands have healed, for the ways my hands have learned, for the ways my hands have connected with other hands, and made me see beauty in imperfection.
For the capacity to feel, to open, to give. For the ways you have shown me love and given me love from the people around me. Thank you for my family, my friends, my coworkers, for strangers, for lovers. Thank you for the times you have shown my heart what it feels like to be cared for. Thank you for teaching me how to give myself, fully, to others.
Thank you for all the nights my tears blended with the shower water, the nights I didn’t think I’d get over him or when I felt so misunderstood. Thank you for the days I was afraid of my future, terrified of where I would go to college, or if I would do well on a test, or if my words could actually mean anything. Thank you for the heartbreak, for the tough lessons, for the exhaustion and brokenness. Because I learned I am whole in you.
The nights I stayed up late, watching headlights dance across my bedroom window or the stars flickering somewhere off in the distance. Thank you for showing me how to heal and how to be on my own. Thank you for building my strength, day by day, even when I felt I was only getting weaker. Thank you for reminding me that emptiness is temporary, and that I can always be filled in with your love.
At the time their leaving felt like a betrayal, and I thought you had turned your back on me. But you were showing me who was temporary, and who was there to stay. You were showing me that I cannot put my faith in sinful people, cannot depend on them for the source of my happiness, but can instead must lean on you. And you won’t leave. Thank you for never leaving, and promising to stay by my side forever.
Because this life is not about receiving what I ask for, not about basing my relationship with you on what I get, not about wishes being granted and having things my way. For your plan is greater than mine will ever be. And every unanswered prayer was a blessing in disguise.
For listening when I poured my heart out, for guiding me when I lost my footing, for being a source of inspiration and trust, for reminding me that I am yours, forever. And that I am loved. Thank you for staying when the world turned its back. Thank you for reminding me that no matter how harsh this life gets, you will always be here. Thank you for giving your son to die for my sins.
For forgiving me, for helping me learn to forgive, for the way forgiveness heals and saves and lets us begin again with new hope. Thank you for building my heart back to its full strength. Thank you for showing me how beautiful life can be when we let go. Thank you for opportunities, for new beginnings.
Thank you for hope.