I didn’t have a Thanksgiving this past fall.
Sure, I had turkey and pie, but I was spending so much time thinking about what I’d lost – what those around me had lost – that I forgot to reflect on what I had to be thankful about. The massive tryptophan-heavy meal served only to fuel hours in front of a computer screen, working on the Graphic’s special edition, “In the Midst,” before sending me burrowing under blankets, catching up on hours of lost sleep.
I slept through the time of thanks and spent the winter processing my fears and frustrations as those around me dealt with the loss of homes or a friend. I’d become Eeyore, waiting for the next rainstorm to trigger mudslides and leave me with cold, wet feet.
However, with the recent change in daylight hours and weather, my mindset has shifted. Spring has become my season of thanksgiving and I’d like to finally express the gratitude that has built up over this past year.
Thank you to the rain, for fostering the thick, green grass that covers the black scars of past tribulations.
Thank you to the flowers, who remind me every day of the strength required to grow from hardship, even though they set off my insane allergies.
Thank you, professors and staff, whose constant love and understanding unified a community scattered across states and countries.
Thank you, President Benton and the Pepperdine administration, for demonstrating how to carry myself when the world turns its often-unsympathetic spotlight in my direction.
Thank you to the planes, trains and automobiles that got students safely into the comforting arms of friends and family.
Thank you to the firefighters, whose automatic reaction wasn’t fearing for yourself, but fearing for both neighbors and strangers, showing bravery in the middle of tragedy.
Thank you, Sgt. Ron Helus, for your courage and sacrifice, showing us that heroes truly do walk among us.
Thank you to my parents for everything — a last-minute flight home, hours of discarded sleep spent in front of TV monitors and balancing your nonstop love with giving me my space to figure out my feelings, among others things.
Thank you, Malibu, for teaching us how to respond to adversity by growing together – the flames can’t consume us, but only temper the metal of a community.
Thank you, Pepperdine community, for the compassion and openness shown during the Graphic’s coverage throughout November, for telling us your stories with honesty and grace, and for supporting our reporting digitally or by reading copies of our special edition.
Thank you, Alaina, for your endless inspiration and spirit – for the incredible impact you’ve made on this campus despite your fleeting time with us. You’re on our hearts and minds every step of the way.
While it may seem weird, I’d also like to express my gratitude for last November for showing me the extraordinary resilience of my community and for bringing me closer together with my peers and professors.
The month – actually, this year – may have tested our abilities, our emotions and our faith, but it has reminded me of all of these incredible things and people that I’d taken for granted. It’s brought me through tragedy and all of the stages of grief, but for that, and more, I’m thankful.
Follow Madeleine Carr on Twitter: @madeleinecarr23