Photo A Day – November 22: Grateful #FMSphotoaday

AT THE young people’s charity where I run the LGBT youth group, these thank you cards stand on the bookcase behind my desk.

On days when deadlines loom and papers topple off the piles in my in-tray, these good wishes, from young people I have supported, volunteers I have managed, and students we have trained, remind me what motivates me to do this work.

I am grateful to have a job where I can make a difference to young people . Sometimes we get feedback like these cards, sometimes we don’t know what seeds we have sown until we see a young person around town months or years later and can see how they’ve grown, compared to the timid souls that first walk through the doors of our drop-in centre.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to be a positive role model for those young people who may, at first, know no other LGBT people, and may not believe it is possible to be happy,  fulfilled and optimistic about the future.

This morning I woke and felt a little low. I resisted the temptation to focus on the stresses and strains that sometimes come with the job, and instead set myself the task of coming up with ten things I am thankful for. It made me feel better to write it – perhaps it will help others if I share it:

Ten things I am thankful for:

  1. Partner: We have known each other for five years and have been in a civil partnership for six months. He keeps me sane and drives me crazy (and I know he would say the same for me!) I really don’t know what I would do without him.
  2. Family: I am blessed with a large family which is a lot like a box of chocolates – sweet with mostly soft centres and a few nuts! They love, respect, accept and support  me and my partner.
  3. Friends: I have many good people in my life, who are definitely there for me, and us (when we are able to make time for them – never enough!)
  4. Home: I have a lovely home, which we are improving so it becomes OUR home.
  5. Work: I have a job which supports me to live comfortably, motivates me and challenges me to grow.
  6. Money: I have enough to live on, more than most of the world’s population.
  7. Community: I am part of a community which gives meaning and purpose to my life, and calls for a response from me, a commitment to contribute to the common good.
  8. Health: I am well enough to live independently, and to function socially to a high level without the need for support. This is something I really need to appreciate more though.
  9. Intelligence: I am blessed with an insightful mind, a sense of humour, and an ability to empathise, which can make me very good at what I do, if I stay grounded and remember to focus on the positive and seek solutions.
  10. Spirituality: I am thankful to know that God loves me, protects me and calls on the best in me, so I can be more fully alive, hopeful and creative.

Thanksgiving should not be just once a year – it’s good for the soul to remember to be grateful for who we are and what we have as often as possible. What are you grateful for?

For the background to the Photo A Day challenge, please read the intro to Day 1 here.

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