Thank you. Being Thanksgiving I would be remiss not to say this to you. We are remiss most days, I think, or at least I am. Every day is a shower of blessings starting with waking up. Not the lovely sensation itself but the mere fact.
Then, to find the eyes and ears and limbs still do pretty much what we want them to, although with age they begin to protest. I expect a petition for relief from my ankles any day now.
Here in the northland, at about the same latitude as Concord NH, daylight is already sparse. I walk to the gym in the dark, but if there are no clouds the eastern sky has begun to turn blue as I finish the mile and a quarter walk. Only paintings come close to the palpable beauty of that blue as it rises over the horizon.
My radiators rattle, but now that my skin is thinner along with the rest of me, that tattoo of warmth has its own pleasure when I come back from the gym as well. Few things are as satisfying as morning light and the possibility a day holds.
Tasks and chores will eat away that potential, as well as my capacity to goof off. But on wintry days the feel of the hot shower is lovely, even as the shiver when it stops is not. My walk to work will remind me of the poor who gather in the park, office workers who huddle in the cold on smoke break, the traffic that comes from being close to a hospital, the filaments of the world that thread us together like the pipes and wires and other sinews of the city.
It all really is amazing. And it deserves rapturous appreciation. But if we did that, nothing would get done. I could stand slack jawed in front of my wife and sons. Their existence is dumbfounding. Their tolerance of me unbelievable. I cannot say enough about the good people with whom I work, ‘my staff’ but who are really my partners in labor. No church I have served has ever had so good a complement as these people. And if the lovely anonymous soul who commented on my past post is typical of members (and from experience this is a good bet) the people who come and listen each week not only endure my flaws but wring some good from my stumbles despite me. How can I begin to say anything worthy of that?
But as much as all of them deserve all the praise I can utter, they need not my drooling worship. They need much more. So this short paean is actually to say that gratitude, while essential is insufficient. My sons need my maturity, my wife my loyalty, my staff my sanity, my people my spirituality.
And I need them, not for their praise or even their devotion, but for their mere being – a fact as miraculous and ordinary as dawn itself.