In unintended unison, they asked, "What's a record?"
Thus ended my lecture.
Well, probably not, but it did silence me for a few seconds.
I know I sound like a broken record, but it's Thankful Thursday.
I know I sound like a purebred optimist, but it's Thankful Thursday,
the day to share some of what I'm grateful for.
As far as gratitude goes, I hope to sound like a record stuck in the same groove
every Thursday - and all the other days of the week as well.
Today, I am thankful
* for a warm and sturdy house during these days of record-shattering cold temperatures
* that we didn't lose power due to freezing rain and ice
* for a challenging Ash Wednesday service - the challenge being to hold fast to these days, to God's dream of justice for all, to hold fast for peace and prayer, and forgiveness
* for Erika's explanation that in the past, the meaning of "fast" was more about "fasting for" something than "fasting from" something
* for these days of Lent, these days to ponder and read and write and pray in preparation for Easter
* for the many books, podcasts, devotionals, blogs, and gatherings that provide encouragement, support, resources, and insights about Lent and faith and what it means to follow Christ to the cross, to the tomb, and out the other side to a transformed, recreated, renewed life
* that at the end of these days, we will celebrate the wonder and power of the resurrection, of new life, of hope, of joy unspeakable
* for the community of people all around the world that is observing this holy season
* for the millions of prayers that are being raised every day - for peace, for forgiveness, for wholeness, for healing, for reconciliation, for restoration, for a halt to wars and violence of every kind
I am thankful for a stove, a crockpot, a kettle, a juicer, a blender and a toaster
* for a pantry, for a refrigerator, for a freezer, and for a microwave oven
* for a washing machine, a dryer, an iron, and a vacuum cleaner
* for air conditioning, heat, and ceiling fans
* for closets and dressers and shelves and the abundance of food and clothing and books and cosmetics that fill them
I am thankful for yoga
I am thankful for yoga videos from the library
I am also thankful for the freedom to compose my own yoga practice
I am thankful for health and strength and the ability to exercise
I am thankful for friends who call me on my crap, who hold me accountable when necessary
* for those who answer my questions with wise words
* for the ones who answer my questions with more questions
* for those who encourage me to keep asking questions for and of myself
* for their reminders that I don't need permission or approval from anyone to be the woman I was created to be
* for Jen Lemen - whose answer to my question about why I'm having such a hard time with my writing lately, included these words: "Go take a bath. Clean. You are forbidden to write until you stop lying to yourself and are back in your body, doing simple tasks with rhythm and joy."
* for the brief break I took from writing and used it for thinking and praying and watching Super Soul Sunday episodes that I had recorded
* for the clearheadedness, the advice, the patience my friends have with and for me
I am grateful for the many opportunities I have to tell stories of my faith walk at church, here at home, on the phone, in emails, in texts, and in person
I am grateful for how the stories of the Bible are coming alive for me in new ways lately
I am thankful for that burning bush and the curiosity that drew Moses towards it
(Makes me wonder what unusual sights in my life are meant to draw me towards God)
I am thankful for Isaiah, for his prophetic boldness
(Makes me wonder what prophetic words I am called to speak and write)
I am thankful for Jonah's honesty: "God, that's why I didn't want to tell those bad people about you. I knew that if they asked for forgiveness, you would forgive them, and I wanted them to be destroyed."
(Makes me wonder who I don't want to forgive, whose demise I secretly long for)
I am thankful for David, for his love for Jonathan, for his lust for Bathsheba, for his resignation in the face of the tragic consequences of his selfishness, and for his understanding of God's grace and mercy after he messed things up so badly
(Makes me have to face my own love, lust, resignation, and the consequences of when I mess things up)
I am grateful that the Psalms include angry rants, pleas for revenge, and confession of wrongdoing
(Makes me want to write my own rants, pleas, and confessions in my journal far more honestly)
I am thankful for Mother Mary's trust, courage and willingness to invest her life and her future in the crazy story of an impossible pregnancy made possible
(Makes me wonder how many crazy stories I have dismissed - and how many miracles I've missed out because of my skepticism)
I am thankful for Mary Magdalene and her friends and their love for Jesus
(Makes me want to spend more time with my sister-friends and talk about the ones we love most of all)
I am thankful for the way that the woman at the well asked Jesus tough questions and answered his
(Makes me wonder what I would ask and what I would say if I could spend some time alone with Jesus, literally sit with Jesus to talk. Makes me wonder if I would be smart enough to shut my mouth and just let him talk or if I would fill the air with my words and wondering)
I am thankful for the questions Jesus asked: Do you want to be well? What do you want me to do for you? What are you talking about as you walk along the way? How much bread do you have?
(Makes me wonder how I would answer those questions - what do I want Jesus to do for me? do I want to be well, to be better, to be whole or am I too comfortable with and in my illnesses? What am I talking about and thinking about and mulling over with my friends? How much do I have and how much of it am I willing to share with others?)
I am thankful that I can read the Bible with my whole heart, soul, and mind
I am grateful for a faith community that welcomes questions, that encourages questions, and that doesn't seek to answer every question
I am glad to be living into the answers and also into deeper questions