Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thankful Thursday: I am grateful

I am afraid.
I am encouraged.
I am also grateful.

I am grateful for these articles and challenges, these posts and laments in response to last week's horrors.
On black bodies in motion and in pain.
On white anti-racists who must speak up and act up
On refusing to be comforted at this time of grief
This piece on the long term legacy of racism, terror, and violence in this country
The reminder that what happened in Charleston is NOT unthinkable or unspeakable
Jon Stewart's segment on the shooting in Charleston
A Lament written by a Native American about what happened in Charleston
This prayer written by a Pastor of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the same denomination as Mother Emanuel in Charleston
I am grateful for difficult but necessary and overdue conversations
I am grateful for the protests and actions being taken against the confederate battle flag

I am grateful for the relentless reminders and challenges that talking and praying and crying and blogging (!) are not enough - my friend, Anthony Smith, said we need to move beyond "being mousepad activists"
I am grateful for the discomfort I feel, for the grief, for the sorrow, and also for the hope
I am grateful for the vulnerability and honesty that tragedy often engenders

I am grateful that I don't have to stop crying or praying or speaking up
I am grateful for the time I am giving myself to grieve
I am grateful for the ways that my heart and mind are being softened by the stories I hear, the tears I have shed, the words others have written
I am grateful that I will begin seminary in just a few weeks - I can learn and prepare myself to answer the call to serve, to teach, to challenge, to act for peace, justice, righteousness, and redemption
I am grateful that I don't have to wait until I receive the diploma to get started on the work of peace making

I am enormously grateful for long phone calls, for lunch dates, for tea parties for two, for text exchanges and for every other means that allows me to reconnect with dear friends

I am grateful for friends to cry with, laugh with, tell the tough stuff to, listen to, and walk alongside on this treacherous and dangerous, delightful and treasure-strewn journey of my life

I am grateful for pastors and teachers, for prophets and leaders, for every person willing to teach and lead the way towards healing and restoration, wholeness and transformation
I am grateful for the invitations that are being issued and accepted to join the movement for justice, equality, peace, education, understanding, unity, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, and other basic human rights

I am grateful for the conversations, the laughter, even the challenges that my kids bring into my life. They don't let me get away with much anymore - and I need to be pushed off my sacred cows more often than I would care to admit

I am grateful for the hundreds of journal volumes in my study, just feet from where I am sitting as I type right now. They remind me of the trials, the tear-soaked hours and days, the trips overseas, the hospital visits, the surgical consultations, the love, the loss, the doubts, the fears the foolishness, the fruitfulness of my life, as well as the goodness, the protection, the provision, the silence, the unfathomability, and the mystery of God.

I have seen many places and faces.
I have heard many stories and songs.
I have tasted earth's bounty.
I have been touched by tender and gentle hands.
I have smelled honeysuckle and lavender and sandalwood and bacon and coffee.
I have wept. I have been in pain. I have lost loved ones. I have been left, lost, and last.
And I have survived 100% of the challenges I have faced thus far in my life.
(So have all of us.)

I have been blessed.
I have been loved.
I am grateful, grateful, grateful, grateful.
Thanks be to God.

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