I am going to start November...and this month of thankfulness... with a fairly mundane word of thanks.
Hopefully this is something you take for granted, but for the last 11 years I have whispered a prayer of thanks every night as I lay my head on my pillow. What am I thankful for? My bed. A warm, comfortable bed. Just like Goldilocks I am thankful for a bed that is not too soft and not too hard. While the former is only occasionally an issue in the US, anyone who has spent time in China knows what it's like to sleep - or try to - on a rock hard bed. It's just the way it is. And I don't know if I would have made it for ten years if my bed felt like I was sleeping on a door.
I am so very thankful and have not for one night taken it for granted.
In Henan I was able to find a foam store to make a mattress topper, just a couple inches of firm (but not too firm) foam encased in a sturdy but soft cover that made my traditional Chinese mattress (basically like a box spring but without the mattress on top) perfectly comfortable. And so began my nightly prayer of thanksgiving knowing I would get the rest I needed to tackle the next day's challenges.
The mattress/box spring thing did not move with me to Beijing but you better believe that that mattress topper did! My right hand man, Mr. Hou (but Hou Ge to us who grew to love and appreciate him), found a small shop in our tiny traditional village, kind of like a mom and pop hardware store, that also sold cut-to-order foam. I chose a thick slab of firm (but not too firm) foam, provided the dimensions of my bed, and within a day my new mattress was delivered. And so began another seven years of comfortable slumber, in both Beijing and Hengyang.
I do not exaggerate when I say that while in China I practically fell asleep as my head hit the pillow, but never without a smile and a word of thanks for the blessing of a comfortable bed. Over the last 19 months in the US I have slept on five different beds. Some had seen better days, so even here I am so very, very thankful that the bed I sleep on is firm (but not too firm), and I continue whisper a prayer of thanks each night. I hope I never become so comfortable that I forget to be thankful for the gift of a good night's sleep.