Monday, March 14, 2016

Master’s Monday: Today’s 16 Thank-you’s

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.
  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. The host of amazing technologies that help to minimize geographical distances and foster friendship and camaraderie, both near and far.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!).
  7. 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.
  8. 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).
  9. 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.
  10. 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!
  11. 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!
  12. 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.
  13. Oxford’s abundance of adorable coffee/tea/cake shops that foster such a pleasant study environment.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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 ~