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. I didn’t have food in my refrigerator But I wasn’t thinking of myself. I was thinking of so many others who were so much worse off than I have been. 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.
And I also know what I always sign off on my emails ~ “Wait for the Lord to lead, and then follow his way.”
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 lives in Sebastian, Florida. She’s in her nineties and lost her childhood sweetheart John a year ago. I still talk with her by phone and enjoy her wicked sense of humor as often as I can and pray to alleviate her loneliness.
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 almost every evening is my friend Lore who welcomes and treat us as family. She also lost her beloved husband Gilberto and misses him so much.
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 / Tony and Susan / Chris and Bill, / Chuck and Chris / Ida and Ernie / Adrian and Leanor / Fathers Jim Dallen, Tim Daly and Fred Ruse.
And, of course, all of you, my dear readers.
And next to last item on my gratitude list this year is my priesthood. I have been a priest for 47 years. I’ve tried to be as faithful as I could.
But the love of my life and the whole meaning of my priesthood is Jesus! He is my Love! He is my Lord! He is my elder Brother! He is my best friend! My Savior and Redeemer!
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