This is a long post, my little babies, to make up for the lack of posting this week. Also, for those whom this may affect, there is vulgarity in it. But not much. Also, I wrote it last night, so yr gonna have to deal with the fact that the timing doesn’t make sense. SORRY.

Ahh Thanksgiving, that one time a year when we truly fake an attempt to act like we’re aware that other people exist. Bullshit, right? Lately (particularly in my case) it seems to be more of an excuse to glut ourselves on the way to Xmas, where it’s gifts a’plenty.

Yeah, for me, it’s that bad. At the request of a Bible worksheet, I sat down earlier this week and attempted to write out things that I’m thankful for. I managed to choke out “friends” (probably because I’d just seen Ben Kopel and felt a bit more faith in humanity), freedom in Christ to be who I am, and some other thing which I can no longer even remember. I think I slammed my laptop shut while struggling to remember ANYTHING in my life worthy of my gratitude. To quote Jordy, it’s so tough to be a baby. I was pretty disgusted with my lack of appreciation and my inability to eloquently state those few things which I’m actually thankful for, so I was prepared to spend Thanksgiving as I always do: sitting around my aunt’s house not talking to my family members (more on that later). To make matters worse, I haven’t really been in the mood to do much of anything lately, be it pray, write, study, or hang out. I had to be practically strapped down to watch Coal Miner’s Daughter on Wednesday evening. My mind and soul were far too busy feeling sorry for themselves to, you know, be thankful.

That’s one of the stranger things about the human condition, at least in the case that I’m most familiar with (that’d be my own). We seem to be inherently selfish. Maybe not in some overtly, never-share-your-ice-cream way, but at least internally. And I’m learning more and more every day that it’s the interior life that matters far more than the exterior. Most days, I just don’t give a shit about anything not named Martin Billeaud Garner (and if there’s another, screw that guy). So I’m sitting there dancing across my Macbook, trying to avoid thinking about things that I can be thankful for.

For those who don’t know, I have a good friend named Billy Price who lives in one of the trailer parks set up by FEMA in Baker, LA, following Hurricane Katrina. I met him while volunteering at the River Center after the storm and we’ve stayed in contact ever since, though I hadn’t seen him since I left for Europe in early June. I struggle in my relationship with Billy because he’s ten years older than me and lives at a financial level that I have never come close to. Am I spoiled? Damn straight. Point is, I don’t love Billy nearly as much as Christ calls me to, and, when I think about it, it bothers me. This is part of the reason that we hadn’t seen one another in so long; I have had trouble finding time and energy to make the thirty minute drive to Baker.

So Billy calls me a couple of weeks ago and asks me what I’m doing for Thanksgiving. Going to my aunt’s to sit quietly in the corner, like every other year since my parents got divorced. Billy asks me if I want to accompany he and his girlfriend to a Thanksgiving dinner being held at the River Center for those who sought refuge there in the month after Katrina. A quick aside: I find it a tad morbid that whoever sponsors these events cannot find a different venue for them. I went with Billy to a Christmas event there last year, eating turkey in a place where, two months before, everyone at my table had been sleeping on donated cots. Maybe I’m the only one it bothers. Probably.

Anyway, I end up inviting Billy and his girlfriend Trudy to come have dinner with me and my family, and they gladly accept. I wasn’t really sure how my family would react to having two complete strangers brought into their home, particularly since they were brought in by the person who has made it their goal to be as timid as possible in large gatherings. So Billy and Trudy are sitting outside, eating this huge meal that my Aunt has cooked (big Cajun family, you get the picture) and they’re surrounded by my cousins, aunts, uncles, etc., all of whom are full of questions and answers on everything from the obvious (hurricane experiences) to the not-so-obvious (model helicopters, the NFL). The weather could not have been more perfect. And it hit me. My family is amazing. I’ve been through seven or eight different personality changes in my life, and they’ve stood by me through all of them. I’m the one who’s hidden from them all of these years. No matter how I have dressed or presented myself, they’ve always had things to ask and tell me. The love has always been there, I’ve just never received it. And they’re like that with everyone. I’ve been the asshole.

Tonight, I’m thankful for everything.