taking time to savor the blessings of the day...

Today I want to celebrate the small, often overlooked acts of kindness and beauty that
saturate my life. We have a small, lovely home that is safe and warm. We have ample food and time for rest, reflection and engagement with the world. We have high speed Internet and a television. We even have a $4 per month subscription to a British TV network.

We have loving children and wonderful sons-in-law. We have a grandson who is the light of our lives. We have one another as spouses, friends and lovers We have friends who care. This morning, as I was pulling out of our driveway to go to worship, we had another tire was flat. So we called a friend - because we have both cell phones and a land line - who said she would gladly pick us up. And did!  We have a number of loving friends who help us live faithfully and fully every week. They even brought us home from church!

We have a church community that is compassionate, honest, engaged and humble. We have musical partners who are talented and generous beyond imagination. We have books galore and tons of music from all over the world. We have a piano, a keyboard, three guitars, an electric bass, a few recorders, six harmonicas, percussion instruments of a wide variety as well as two upright basses. We have cameras and CD players.  And, of course, we have Lucie who most often resembles Snoopy in the Charles Schultz "Peanuts" series, but who also acts like "Seinfeld's" Krammer from time to time, too.

We have eyes that see, hearts that beat, souls that grieve as well as rejoice, ears that hear (mostly), mouths that taste, noses that smell, hands and feet that work and minds that are still tickled by the intricacies of simple blessings. 

Today, when I asked the young men in our confirmation class, "If someone asked you to tell them about our church, what would you say?" they replied:  at our church we don't just come and sit - we come and listen... and serve... and think... and care. Today our choir, smaller in numbers for some reason, sang a complex composition with verve and skill. We have a music director who not only challenges us but nourishes us, too. We have Sunday school teachers with lots of love and knowledge. We have a church sexton who cherishes our ancient building and a church secretary who shares love and skill generously every day of the week. We have gay and straight, young and old, new and well-seasoned all together, too.

Today is the birthday of one of my daughters and my list of significant blessings would not be
complete without returning thanks to God for her. She is wise and beautiful, sensitive and drop dead funny, kind-hearted and compassionate, a generous wife, a skilled writer, a tender aunt and a person I am blessed to know as a friend. She's turned me on to a ton of great tunes over the years and shared some important books with me, too. I hope that I have given back half as well as I have received.

I remember taking her to a Springsteen concert for her 9th birthday like it was yesterday. Or wearing one of the first sweaters she ever knit. It is HUGE - and I still have it. Or going to Cleveland Indian's games with her on a Tuesday night when only about 2,000 other people would show up. Or eating macaroni and cheese for dinner after her softball games. Or drinking wicked strong beer with her at the People's Pint. We've cried and laughed, fought and made up, wrestled with our respective broken hearts and so much more. (And, of course, it isn't hard to remember all the times I misunderstood or let her down, too.) The whole of it all, however, has been and is a blessing. So like many dads, I find myself listening to this song on her birthday.

Today as the spring sun shines, the daffodils and crocuses peek through the top soil and I rake up the leaves from last fall: I give to God for each and all of these small but extraordinary blessings. My point in listing all the "haves" in this post is simply to note how many wonderful things enrich our lives - we clearly have too much - but the richest and most important blessings come from the love and time we share with those who are a part of our hearts.

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