Thursday, November 22, 2012


Today is a special holiday in the United States called Thanksgiving.  It holds a special place in my heart this year because I have found there hasn't been room for all the blessings in my life.  I have so much to be thankful for.

Thanksgiving has always been a great time for nerds.  Why?  Well, there's Black Friday the day after to get all of your nerd gear.  There's the break from school/work to play endless hours in video games.  With the Christmas season upon us, there's lots of time devoted to looking at catalogs and making wish lists.

Video games are nice.  A couple of weeks ago I wrote a love letter of my rekindled understanding of how important play is when there's so much stress and work in my life.  But really, as much as I love games and the time off, that's not really what I'm the most thankful for.

When I think of my favorite memories of Dungeons and Dragons, playing Left 4 Dead, playing Magic, or enjoying my fall break, it is the faces of loved ones I immediately see.  Yes, it's cool when a character crits and slays the giant spider in one turn.  There's a bit of awesome in the moment a Hunter get's mowed down just as he's about to pounce a player.  I always remember the gasp around the table when I summon that 12/12 creature.  But in the end, I will always remember these moments of who I'm with.

So what is it about the Thanksgiving and Christmas season that's so great for geeks?  Community.

I cannot adequately express the love and gratitude I have for the Mormon Geeks contributing authors.  T.J. is my best friend.  I find support and comfort from him that is really quite rare for me to find anywhere else.  Joe is also a close friend and is always there to support me when I'm having trouble.  He can always make me laugh.  Andrew's authenticity is something I always learn from.

Geeks need each other.  Really, I think everyone needs community but especially geeks.  Growing up I always felt like a fish out of water in the church.  The other guys in my quorums were always more interested in sports and looked liked deer in the headlights when I talked about Dungeons & Dragons.  There were some great boys and young men in my quorums but they weren't quite like the friends I have today.

I'm also thankful for my trials.  I'm thankful to know what it's like to move every 3 years and have your heart break when you say goodbye to your friends.  I'm thankful to know what loneliness feels like.  I'm thankful to have been in awful, unhealthy, codependent relationships--and even more thankful that they ended.  I'm thankful to know the frustrations of rising insurance rates, car payments, and traffic tickets.  I'm thankful to have experienced childhood trauma.

Why would anyone be thankful for trials like these?  Well, I know that these trials helped me appreciate the blessings in my life more.  And not only that, but the hard experiences in my life taught me to preserve the wonderful things I have now.  I couldn't have the healthy friendships I have now if I hadn't learned from unhealthy relationships in the past.  Knowing what loneliness feels like has helps me appreciate the time I spend with family and friends.  It's also given me time to see and appreciate me individually and be a best friend to myself.  Moving around so much allowed me to build solid friendships with my siblings and parents.

But the biggest and most wonderful blessing that I can think of is becoming best friends with my savior, Jesus Christ.  How could I really feel the power of the atonement without having the experience of heart ache and feeling lost?  No trial goes wasted.  Our hardships can bring so many blessings to our life if we allow Him to make it so.

Something I started doing was expressing my thankfulness for everything in prayer.  I started expressing gratitude for stuff like speeding tickets.  I was afraid to do this because I expected, "Oh, you like that?  Ok, well here are some more trials for you."  Yikes, just because I'm thankful for it doesn't mean I want more of it.  As scary as it was, it definitely had an impact on my life.

We talk about having the Christmas spirit all year round.  What about the Thanksgiving spirit?  It says in Alma 34:38,
" in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you."
If we want or need more blessings from our Heavenly Father, expressing gratitude to Him will help us first recognize how many blessings are already in our life.  Stuff is great but all it is is stuff.  What I love about this holiday is the beautiful reminder of what's really important to me.

Thanks for reading and for allowing me to share my feelings on Thanksgiving.  Enjoy the song!

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