Celestial Lands The Religious Crossroads of Politics, Power, and Theology

We Give Thanks, For this Blessed Day

As is customary on Thanksgiving morning, I woke up thinking of all the things that I give thanks for. All the things in my life that I am grateful for… and I thought I would share a few of them.

I give thanks for my wife, and for the fact that no matter how much I love to annoy her, no matter how many times I have frustrated her, intentionally and unintentionally… she has allowed me to continue to live. Oh, and I give thanks that, through all of our moving and our lives changing these past few years, I have never doubted for one moment that she loves me… whether she wants to love me or not!

I give thanks for my family, for the parents that raised me and allowed me to live. For the sisters who have always been and will always be the two annoying brats that I have to be nice to because my parents brought them into this world too… I also give thanks. Somehow, it seems right that I have the sisters I have.

I give thanks to my friends, both from long ago and those more recent. I give thanks for Chris and his counsel, for Seanan and his crazy eyes, for Katie and her compassion, for Marcia and her smile, for Barbara and her heart, for James and his dreams, for Mark and his practicality, and for so many others. I give thanks for the knowledge that there are friends that I can call in a moment of pain, with whom I don’t have to be a minister… with whom I can just be a friend.

I give thanks for my colleagues in the ministry, both UU and others. I give thanks for their counsel, for their welcoming me into their midst, for their willingness to help me continually grow in our shared profession, and for their willingness to allow me to do the same for them. I give thanks for the email asking for my advice on a ministerial issue, or for the response to a question of mine. I give thanks for the ability for me to speak my truth among them, even when it is uncomfortable, and allow our collegiality to hold that discomfort.

I give thanks for all the congregants over the years, and into the future, that have allowed me to be their minister. That have allowed me to explore with them a different kind of relationship than we find in most of our lives. I give thanks for being trusted to hold fragile understandings and desperate secrets. I am thankful for tears, for cries of understanding, and for the joy of laughter. I am thankful to not have to be perfect, and for the lessons of how to model imperfection for others.

I am thankful for the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Galveston Island, Texas… which welcomed me into this faith we call Unitarian Universalism, gave me a spiritual home, and nurtured and noticed a budding minister within me. And then, I am thankful for the way they let me leave the nest…

I am thankful for the Unitarian Church of Evanston Illinois, and more recently and perhaps even more profoundly the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland, Michigan. More than being thankful for allowing me to minister among them, I am thankful that each was able to see through my military duties and responsibilities and to trust that I could be both a military chaplain and their minister. And even more than this, I am deeply grateful for how both congregations have joined me in each of these ministries. For that, among many other things, I will be forever in your debt.

I am thankful that I know, in the depths of my heart, that there are other congregations willing to welcome me into their midst as a minister in this association of ours. Explorations this year, and conversations with congregations have taught me that in a way I could not have imagined just a few short months ago. Thank you.

I give thanks for Athena Warrior Princess… my fuzzy feline companion, for her infinite number of meows, for her expessive tail, and for her impressive willingness to communicate her feelings to Sandy and I… whether we want to know them or not.  Oh, and I’m thankful for the baths of licks I get too… I must be smelly. 

I am grateful to Robert Althouse Joshin Roshi, with whom I sat and studied Zen. The ways that experience continues to shape my life and my ministry remains profound.  I am grateful for his willingness to let me come, and his willingness to let me go. 

I am grateful for all of the Denziens of the Celestial Lands, who read these musings, who share with me both in public comments and in private emails their reactions and reflections. I am grateful for the time you take to read these words, and to respond to them… and to the heart I see and feel in your engagement with me. You have made my ministry and my preaching more than they ever would have been before, and I am grateful.

I am grateful to the U.S. Army… yes, the Army. I remember the old Army joke about the prayer that soldiers used to utter when they heard an artillery barrage coming in… “Lord, for what we are about to receive, may we give thanks.” I am grateful to the Army for taking a very young 18 year old kid and giving him some direction and purpose in his life. I am grateful to the Army for helping that young kid realize he was smarter than his high school transcript would have shown. I am grateful to the Army for trusting me with real leadership on real world missions, and for helping me find a sense of confidence in myself. I am grateful to the Army for that one day, one frightening day in Bosnia when I and my team were key in preventing a war from happening. I am thankful for knowing, in my heart every day since that the world is different because of something I had the opportunity to do. I am grateful to the Army for the opportunity to come back, and to minister to soldiers the way that Chaplains had once ministered to me. I’m even (now) thankful that they made me a Reserve Chaplain, so that I could encounter both of my ministerial loves at the same time… congregational ministry and military chaplaincy.

I am grateful for thunderstorms, for the smell of winds off the sea, for the view off mountain peaks, for the movement of ants, for the stars and the nebulas, and the galaxies… I am grateful for all the parts that I can see of a God that I can only barely perceive… and that fires my imagination and holds my vision.

For all of this, and more, I give thanks, for this blessed day. For those gathered here, and those far away…

Yours in faith,

Rev. David

One Thought on “We Give Thanks, For this Blessed Day

  1. I am grateful to you, my friend, for your fierce loyalty, compassion and friendship. Blessings to you.

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