When I was in AA many a year ago, we were taught a very simple form of prayer ~ to say “please” in the morning and “thank you” at night. What could be simpler and more heartfelt? Thanks is on my lips and in my heart whenever I can accomplish something that I need to do ~ usually after I’ve said “Please help me do this, Lord.” And that little conversation ‘ll take place quite often.
So, for me, every day is a thanksgiving day! But I share here some of the things I’m grateful for this year; it’s quite a bit different from last year. This past several months, I’ve been struggling financially. For the first time in a very long time I didn’t have food in my refrigerator and I couldn’t pay my mortgage. But I wasn’t thinking of myself. I was thinking of so many others who were so much worse off than I was!
I knew this wouldn’t last. And it hasn’t. My faith is strong. And I remembered again and again what Julian of Norwich used to say, “All shall be and all manner of things shall be well.” So that’s one thing for which I’m thankful.
But I’m also strongly thinking about my friends this year ~ a few of whom I will name here. Joan has been my friend since I was first ordained in 1969. She lives in Melbourne, Florida, a great-grandmother and a confidante of mine, always welcome in her home.
Betsy and John live in Sebastian, Florida. They’re in their nineties and still wear denim and love to laugh. They are still sweethearts, except that John is disappearing into himself with Alzheimer’s. I visit them whenever I drive up I-95.
Father Tim Daly is pastor of St. Paul’s in Daytona Beach and looks in on me once in a while and makes sure I’m ok.
Father Jim Fetcher, pastor of St. Sebastian Church here in Ft. Lauderdale has been a wonderful compassionate friend as well with a listening ear.
And closer to home, folks that my dog Shoney and I visit most every evening are my friends Lore and Gilberto who welcome us and treat us as family.
There are others, of course. I’m thinking of them right now: Gene and Marilyn / Betsey and Matthew / Tom and Nancy / Jim and Jeffrey / John and Sarah / Dan and Lee / George and Anne / Tony and Susan / Chris and Bill, / Adrian and Leanor /Fathers Jim D. and Don / Father Fred in the Dominican Republic.
And, of course, all of you, my dear readers.
And finally, the last item on my gratitude list this year is my priesthood. I celebrated my 45th anniversary this year. And I had the opportunity to celebrate with my classmates at my two seminaries at Theological College in Washington, D.C and at St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore.
So, I hope you’ll make your own gratitude list. And when you sit down for dinner on Thursday, why not take a moment to ask folks to first have a moment of silence to think of something that they’re especially thankful for this year. And then ask each of them if they’d like to share it. (The moment to think is important! Don’t skip it or else everybody will repeat what the last one said.)
” Rejoice always,
Pray without ceasing.
In all circumstances give thanks,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I Thessalonians 5: 16-18