Saturday, November 21, 2015

Thankfulness in the time of 2015

Thankfulness is a strange phenomenon.  I am at times struck by an awareness of things that makes my life richer and meaningful - but it's usually something over which I have no control at all ... I can only respond with a deep awareness of gratitude.  With a sense of awe and mystery... It seems that the older I become the more frequently this kind of awareness comes over me.  These is so much about God that is unknowable to me - but I consciously thank my God for these moments of awareness and that is part of the mystery of thanks...

 Here are some things that come to my mind when I recall what I am thankful for...

1. For clean air to breath - 2 good legs to walk in the early morning with 3 funny dogs. The morning sounds and smells are marvelous for all 4 of us.  
"Rusty" - the rascal
2.  For living in a country where loyalty is not equated with agreement with the 'party line' - being a good citizen means speaking up in agreement or disagreement.

Preparing for a luau in Hawaii ( from my study grant year in Hawaii)
3.  For my family:  Being in a long time loving partnership with my wife - We agree on most things - and when we don’t that's OK too. I'm thankful for our shared history, that we can remember so many people and places with laughter and tears. I'm thankful for our many shared adventures over the years...

After a long hike
4.  I’m thankful for our two capable and thoughtful sons, and their wives. They are capable, caring men, and we love them for who they are.

Peter and Marila

Andrew and Ayme w/ Judy
5.  Thankful for my new found Czech relatives that have opened new doors of relationship for me.  I love their photos and stores - and am deeply touched by their hospitality.  Not only Czech relatives but new and old European friends that touch our hearts with their kindnesses.

Czech family

Good friends in CZ

6. For my church  - where its OK to ask the tough questions, where we seek to follow the example of Jesus reaching out to the poor and excluded, were we believe that the Bible must be interpreted within the historical context of its many authors.  Where  everyone is welcome "wherever you are in your life journey." 

Niles church
7.  For the wisdom of our government who in the past created National Parks.  To know that wilderness exists feeds me all year long - and a few times a year we go to the high mountains to walk the mountain trails, to see cascading water, to enjoy the shooting star flowers, listen to the pika's chirp in the morning light, and to fly with the golden eagles...  

Saddlebags lake - 11,000ft 
8.  For the opportunity to see other lands and other people - to struggle with  languages, learn from different cultures and adjust to different  foods... truly a blessing.

A favorite street in Turkey

9. As Willy Nelson who said " I don’t do leisure very good..."... That’s me! - I am thankful for the challenge and satisfaction that come from my work with young new science and math teachers.  I love learning from them.

10.  I am thankful for a mind that still questions, and learns .  For a mind that sometimes has insights and finds discovery.  For a mind that can can experience give compassion and outrage...

Most Czech family and friends

11.  For the conditions of my life such that I have not been overcome with bitterness and regret.

12.  I am thankful for living in a time of history dominated by science and reason rather than superstition.  Thankful for the vast amounts of information available to me.

13.  Thankful for my sister with whom I  share the moments of our lives. We know each other so well and know that with each other we can talk about all our joys and struggles.  We dont always agree but we accept each other as we are...
Family portrait..
14.  For cousins and friends ... and for loved ones long gone who still are part of my world and my thoughts, who continue to teach me through their examples.  I am part of a blessed community.
Family in Kansas
Uncle John

15.  For vegetables fresh from the garden, for fruit from our trees.

16.  For the wonderful surprise of finding newts, columbines, gopher snakes, white crowned sparrows singing in the morning, humming bird moths, marmots,  and ptarmigans... I love the surprise of encountering life in different forms.  I am thankful that I do not have the compulsion to kill what I find.
Bald Eagle

Marmot (our good friend) 

17.  For my home,  Niles California - it is like a small town in an urban world, diverse,  quaint, and most important we are a collection of really interesting people.  We are near the open hills and a great regional park.  

18.  I am thankful for the views and opinions I have acquired over the years - shaped by many influences, countless conversations, following what seems just and responsible - I am a Progressive Christian, a Democrat, and one who believes in Social Justice.
My sister in law Susan and brother in law Conroe with somebody you know...

19. I am thankful to live in a time of history with knowledge of the germ theory, at a time when antibiotics are available, and where modern medicine continues to grow in treating the ills of mankind.