Open Mic Friday! featuring Willona Sloan

Welcome, my dears, to Open Mic Friday! Every week we have a featured “reading” in the body of this post. Offer your applause and other feedback in the comments, where you’re also welcome to share your own work. The comments are threaded, so you can reply directly to each reader by hitting the “reply” button within that comment box.

Read, share, and converse!

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This week — which you know has been a rough week in our home — I am deeply grateful to read, and to offer you, this thankful piece by Willona Sloan. This is Willona’s second guest post; read the first one here.

I Am Grateful by Willona Sloan

Last Monday I woke up with tears streaming down my face. I didn’t exactly know why but I had some ideas. Maybe I was dreaming about my broken heart. Or, I was feeling the cold settling into my soul—it’s going to be a long, cold winter. I can sense it.

Maybe it was the disturbing quiet that has hushed my city. Lately, the city has grown silent. I’m probably just noticing it for the first time—it’s probably been there for a couple of years—but there’s a noticeable absence of joyful noise. I suppose everyone is just thinking. The bills are piling up, the stalled economy is keeping more and more qualified people out of work. Some people are even jumping in front of the subway trains.

I’ve been living beyond my means for several years but my ability to pay my bills on time has me looking like a model citizen on paper. But now that I’m reining in my spending, going out less, and saving more, I understand what everyone else is thinking about with their heads down; calculating in their minds; making choices, decisions, sacrifices.

Four years ago, when I was laid off from my job, I cried for two weeks. I had no severance package and only enough savings to get me through 45 days. Then, as always, I fell back on my parents who paid my mortgage and extra bills that I couldn’t cover. I found a job inside of two months. But what if my parents who love me very much hadn’t been able to help me? What if I had been one of those unfortunate homeowners in over her head? I mean, essentially I was as I couldn’t support myself alone.

It’s just by the grace of God (or whomever you believe in) that we have been given the ability, strength, support, perseverance, opportunity, and funding to attain and obtain what we have. But nothing is guaranteed to us. We can take credit for none of it.

This started off in my mind as a Thanksgiving piece and so I will end it as such. Despite the sadness that arrests my sleep and the melancholy that envelops my waking, I am thankful, as I know that this too shall pass.

I am thankful for music and for its ability to fill my soul. I am thankful for my parents, my brother, my aunts, uncles, and cousins; for my ancestors in whose footsteps I attempt to walk. I am thankful for the ideas in my head; for my clarity of mind. I am thankful for a desire to write and my ability to occasionally execute this task in way that brings pleasure to my heart. I am thankful for love and for heartache— whether my heart is full or it is broken, I know that my heart still beats.

I am thankful for the fulfilling friendships that have sustained me throughout my 35 years. I am thankful for smiles, snorty laughs, tears streaming down, sides splitting. I feel grateful for words, language and literature. I am thankful for art that raises the hair on my neck. I am thankful for the gift of taste.

I am grateful for the use of my legs; for my beautiful, safe home; for VONA; for hope; for pride; for confidence; for empathy and compassion. I am thankful that I dream, that I feel, that I cry.

For all these things I am grateful every day.

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Willona Sloan

Willona Sloan

Willona Sloan is a writer. She lives, dreams, and taps her feet in Washington, DC. You can find her online at dcscorpiongirl.wordpress.com.

Thank you, Willona, for reminding us to savor the abundance in our lives. And now — the comments are open!