Today I’m grateful for people who say the right thing at the right time, who see deep into your soul, who gently reveal their vulnerability and fear, who live with the bittersweet realities of life, who ponder the earth’s mysteries, and who spend time, not in raw task-oriented productivity, but in space-filled reflection and philosophical wondering. I’m thankful too for the gift of newspapers, for the old-school feel of newsprint in the hand, for great journalists who take their task of prophetic wisdom-sharing seriously, for institutions who support and foster creative, independent news media and current affairs programing, and those who spend their lives studying the complex web of global culture, religion and politics.
Today I’m grateful for an amazingly random pastoral conversation with a stranger, a young white Aussie man trying to find his way in the midst of huge obstacles. I’m grateful for his honestly, his courage, his conviction, his conscience, his informal confession, his willingness to risk everything for his friends, for his fighting spirit, his gratitude, his search for identity away from disfunction, and the way he reminded me of the immense societal and cultural challenges that human beings around the world face, the reminder to me of the imprisoned, the lonely, the desperate, and the outcast. Thanks be to you, fellow traveller: you have reminded me that the search for humility lies is cruciform, the search for transformation lies beyond the shadows, and the search for reconciliation starts with each other in active, participant-rich community.
Yesterday, my U.S. time birthday, December 14, I was grateful for some many lovely messages of support, love, and friendship for my birthday from those in Hawai’i and the U.S. mainland, for the heat of an Australian summer, for the reflection and spiritual learning that comes from being in your home country, for missing Hawai’i, for reminders of deeper meaning through my friend’s three week old baby, for my first hold of him, for mittens, and dazed eyes, for whisper-fine hair, for new-human smell, for the patience of sleep deprived parents, and for the love in their eyes.
Today I’m grateful for life, for ministry, for travel, for aloha, for kokua, for grace, for the search for humility, for the abundance of God in the mystery of a simple midweek Eucharist, for a new visa, for ministry, for Julia my wife, partner, friend, biggest fan and advocate, a strong life-giving, life embracing mother, musician, and so much more… For Phoebe and James and their smiling faces over video chat and the technology that supports that and the amazing people who make it possible, for time spent with my dad and stepmom this birthday, for birthday messages, cards, support, prayers, patience, wisdom, love. Abundance in Glory may Christ be seen, above all made all supreme. Delightful abundance all suffice, to come among us, not once, but thrice.
Today I’m grateful for safe travel to Australia, for great conversations with two wonderful strangers, for a great person next to me who shared deeply and intentionally, for a great impromptu conversation in the bulkhead of the plane, for the way people come together when they travel, for the mysterious connection we share as human beings – the Spirit that binds us together in a common purpose. For those who are able to step out of the brokenness of their past and present and discover a new future for themselves, their family, their community, and our world, and for those who encourage us to do the same.
Today I’m grateful for things that can’t adequately be expressed in words. For the joy of Advent 3 – Gaudete Sunday – for the mystery of joy in tears and laughter, in bread and wine, in Scripture and music, in procession and dance, in people’s stories, deep rivers of emotion and trees of wisdom and knowledge. I’m grateful for the Parish of St. Clement, for people seeing beauty in brokenness, and hope in and through challenge, for people seeing dreams and life in and through complexity. And for Christmas lights, babies, tourists, traffic, movement, sounds and sights of people in the city together for a common purpose of family, friendship, wonder and imagination.
Today I’m grateful for the Episcopal Church in Hawaii’s Enculturation Day, for Lei-making, hula, song, history, culture, Mana, Aina, Aloha, Kokua, new learning, great salads, kind words, down-to-earth realism, grappling with difficult topics, revealing of unspoken truths, discoveries of self and other, the names, language, and spirit of the Hawaiian people and others in the Pacific. And for the Parish of St. Clement Annual Christmas Movie Night (Elf!), for wonderful conversation, great Christmas Spirit, honest sharing, committed volunteers (with great smiles and senses of humor), for families as a larger ‘ohana, for dialogue memorized, of childhood imagination and Holiday Dreaminess, and for the prayers of the committed, kind, and faithful.
Today I’m grateful for a full Friday! More goodbyes with the children of St. Clement’s School (last chapel), for joyous singing, smiles, innocent delight and wonder, praying, staff aloha, parent support and enthusiasm. For lunch with Australian friends visiting and a (recently unusual) trip to Waikiki for me, for tourists from everywhere, for people on vacation, for aloha on the streets and on the roads, for food and beverage, and for waitstaff and hosts at restaurants. For my vegan Doc Martin’s on a rainy day, and for kindness, patience and professionalism from strangers and colleagues.
Today I’m grateful for the start of significant goodbyes from the Parish of St. Clement (more to come!) For an individual pastoral visit (and handover) in the parish, for lunch with the Adult Formation Group at Kahala Nui, for their love and support, their kindness and generosity. And I’m grateful for the gift it is in being a dad, for my own kids and babysitting friends kids, for pizza and milk, plastic plates and booster seats, for smiles and bubbles in baths, for bedtime books, and PJs, for the glow of downlights and Christmas Trees, and for the indulgence of a frozen vegan meal.
Today I’m grateful for the weekly Hearing Eucharist at St. Clement’s, for the faithfulness of that small but intentional group, for the opportunity to preach the word and administer the sacraments, and for an early birthday lunch with St. Clement’s staff at my favorite restaurant, for the beautiful and hospitable service of the staff there, for vegetarian Gau Gee and mock-Kung-Pao chicken (vegan!) And I’m thankful to those who in our lives who intentionally listen and truly trust and understand where we are at, those guides in life that we are given to confide in, and for the beauty and love found in this simple but complicated act of supporting the other.