I'm having a rare, very picturesque holiday moment right now.  The house is toasty with the glow of the woodstove and delicious smells waft by; the turkey is brining; the baby is napping; and the big kids are relaxing with daddy.  Sure, the floor is filthy and a million other things that need to be tidied are calling my name...but this moment is too delicious not to lean into it a little.  

A picturesque holiday moment, and perhaps also a stereotypical one, as I've been reflecting on the theme of being thankful.  *Cue sentimental music* Seriously, though, too often we're prompted to consider thankfulness only through the lens of loss - only in comparison to the misfortune, tragedy, loss, grief, and trials of the rest of the world.  Kind of like how I only remember how extremely grateful I am for good health when I've narrowly avoided a brush with influenza, or how we may pause to remember how lucky we are to have a home to keep us warm and safe only after listing to stories of home fires and homelessness on the news.  Basically, it's the "eat your vegetables; there are starving children in India" vibe in a nutshell.  

Not that this a bad thing, necessarily.  It's kind of unavoidable, and am empathic awareness of others and the global community is something to strive for in many ways.  But the ever-presence of this lens came into focus recently as I've caught glimpses of a different kind of thankfulness.  

It's a pure sensation.  It's elation and joy, and a momentary suspension of fear and trepidation.  It is completely of the moment, and it's likely to cause goose bumps.  

I was invited to document a friend's redeployment ceremony earlier this month as he returned from a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan.  This image, which I took moments after he was finally returned to his family's arms, is what first struck this Thankful chord.  

alan harty redeployment©2017SarahLewisPhotography-40.jpg

Alan's face.  He is completely and totally present.  He's not thinking about the last nine months or the next five minutes; he is completely in that moment.  It's a strange kind of zen to find in the middle of a heart-wrenching event, but I think it makes it all the more remarkable.  His face says it all.  

And so today I've been thinking about how fortunate I am to have access to these moments of pure thankfulness, even if only to document them.  And I thought I'd share a couple of them here.  

Happy thanksgiving, everyone.