I think I mentioned a while back that I have taken “Gratitude” as my 2016 “Word of the Year.” For that reason, I decided that on this, the first Monday of Easter vacation, I would share with you the first 16 things that come to mind for which I am especially grateful right now.
- The chance to see my beloved family, church family, and some of my other stateside friends on a brief visit back to Michigan last weekend (hence the absence of a post for last Monday).
- My treasured relationships with those very family members and my American friends, as well as the most recent friendships I have been privileged to begin in these last four-and-a-half months here in Oxford.
- The host of amazing technologies that help to minimize geographical distances and foster friendship and camaraderie, both near and far.
- The fact that the intensity of term-time has now elapsed, and Easter vacation (with a delightful family visit and an upcoming trip to Scotland!) is upon us.
- The beauty of spring which is coming to Oxford, bringing with it more (and longer) days of sunshine, as well as blooms and green things everywhere.
- The work I have been able to do thus far on topics of study that I really care about, and the support I have received from so many (from both expected and quite delightfully unexpected quarters!).
- The French class that I sometimes complain about but that has allowed me already to be reading academic articles in their original language, after fewer than 16 weeks of training.
- The opportunities I have had to play amazing orchestral music with inspiring fellow musicians in magnificent settings (think Christ Church Cathedral, the Sheldonian Theatre, and the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin).
- The years of preparation in many different areas, for which I am primarily indebted to my parents, but also to a host of dedicated teachers, mentors, and peers.
- The various amazing professional performances which I have been able to attend here at delightful student rates: thus far, I have been privileged to watch/hear Vadim Repin, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Marios Papadopoulos, and Michael Barenboim, and I currently have tickets for performances featuring Pinchas Zukerman and Maxim Vengerov!
- The assurance of comfortable and perfectly safe accommodation for the coming school year, in the very same room that I have learned to call my own from this academic year!
- The invitation to participate in a research group called Christians in Academia, which will explore questions of vocation, service, and character in the next three Oxford school terms.
- Oxford’s abundance of adorable coffee/tea/cake shops that foster such a pleasant study environment.
- The many, many challenges to my own ideas and beliefs that I have received here at Oxford, which continually inspire me to dig deeper into what I believe, why I believe it, and to what extent and for what reasons I am prepared to modify or defend those same beliefs.
- Mentors and peers who encourage me to pursue God’s will for my life with abandon, as well as godly examples of that all-encompassing pursuit of Christ, who have convinced me that this is by far the best and most joyous way to live life to its full potential.
- The grace of God that unveils joy in life’s rough spots and spurs me ever onward to His higher ways.
This is by no means a complete list of the many blessings for which I am grateful tonight, but I thought I would just share a few that were especially on my mind. :)
~ LaRae ~