It's Thanksgiving morning, and my eyes are already red. They are not red because I am tired. They are not red because something is burning in the oven. They are red because I have been reminded in so many powerful ways on this morning of how blessed I am. They are red because I realize how thankful I am for all of the many blessings in life.
My dad visited me this week. Dad lives in Missouri where he is the President of Linn State Technical College. He is an amazing individual with a sense of humor that can make me laugh until my tummy hurts. He has a work ethic that makes me want to work even harder than I already work. He is a bit hard headed, which makes me think that I, too, can do anything I want to do. And, he loves his family -- which makes me realize how loved I really am. I am enormously proud of my dad. I am grateful for all he has taught me in my 34 years. I am thankful for the lessons in life that he has given me -- lessons that have demonstrated to me how I should work hard to reach my goals while never forgetting the people who have helped me along the way -- lessons on why I should love God and his church -- lessons about how to never give up. Thank you, dad.
I am also enormously thankful for the people to whom I am privileged to be pastor. I realize each day how much I love the people who call Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church their church home. These individuals awe and amaze me. They make me laugh. They make me think. They make me want to serve as faithfully as I possibly can.
One of our members had a stroke this week. When the call came informing me that she was in the hospital, I quickly put my coat on and rushed out the door. When I arrived at the hospital, I was reminded how thankful I am for having been able to hear the story of this woman's life -- her arrival in Washington during WWII, her love of the church, and her journeys as a resident of the neighborhood. I was also reminded that the call of a pastor is a precious privilege as I was not only invited to come to the hospital, but I was beckoned there. And once I arrived, I realized again how the ground on which I walk is sacred, indeed.
On this Thanksgiving morning, I also remember and give thanks for the precious friends in my life. One of the greatest joys of being back in Washington is the gift of being near so many of my closest friends. This year I was able to visit my friend, Kimberly, at the hospital on the day her second child, Abby, was born. I was also able to officiate at my best friend, Jenni's wedding -- a woman whose friendship continues to sustain me in so many lifegiving ways. Last week, I shared a simple meal of soup with Kim, a colleague I met in 1994. These women are such gifts to me. I celebrate their friendships and the ways in which I experience the love of Christ through their lives.
And this is just the beginning of my thanksgiving. God is so good.
Thank you, Lord, for my home and the gift of warmth that exudes from it. Thank you, Lord, for my call to ministry and the joy of being at Mount Vernon Place. Thank you for life in the city. Thank you for my family. Thank you for my friends. May my life demonstrate to you time and again how thankful I really am.