Each year as the last Thursday in November approaches I find myself gazing rather wistfully across the Atlantic.
It's not the turkey (heaven knows, there will be enough opportunities to consume far more turkey than anyone could ever desire during the coming weeks);
it's not the cosy family time (I'll enjoy that when it comes, in the peaceful days between Christmas and New Year);
it's not even the opportunity for a break in the headlong dash towards Advent (well, actually, maybe it is - but that's not the whole story)
Rather, it's the opportunity provided by the US calendar to spend a day consciously being THANKFUL.
Actually, this hasn't been a particularly great week - just too many things going on at once, and a slight strain in a collegial relationship with one of my neighbours which feels more significant than it probably is because I'm a little stressed and weary.
All the more reason, then, to pause and be thankful...
- for my family, especially my children, who continue to surprise and delight me with their perspectives, their gifts, and their friendship - and who always offer a hug, even before I have time to ask for one
- for my friends (however we first connected), who are wonderfully understanding when I fail to make time to see them, who respond with love when I need it, who make me laugh and let me cry
- for a job that is so much more besides, that sustains all those parts of me that are worth most, that allows me to be and to pray and to listen and to sing and to feed and be fed
- for wonderful people who want me to "succeed" in ministry here and are offering support in so many ways...including an offer to run the parish office for a couple of mornings a week. Deo Gracias!
- for a home that is warm and friendly and full of books and muddle and things I love
- for the wild welcome of the dogs whenever I return home, and the warmth of the cats curled on my lap to remind me that I don't always have to rush out again
- for words and music and the creativity of others, and the courage to create in smaller ways myself
- for the way the world has opened before me in the past decade - for the opportunity to travel to places I never dreamed I would see and for the friendships cemented there
All this, - and heaven too!
T H A N K Y O U