I spent my birthday this week skiing on a very sunny cold day with my very sunny warm wife, and when it was all done, my heart was filled with incredible gratitude for the life I’ve been given, deeply aware that I deserve none of it. I won’t tell you how old I am, but I went home from the skiing and wrote down 52 things for which I’m thankful…
Christ is more real to my daily life and a better friend now than when I was 20
- even though I’ve screwed up too many times to count,
- thus allowing me to be the recipient of unconditional love, no less real from this invisible Source than from anyone, or anywhere else.
- I'm thankful for a wife who still loves me
- And still makes me laugh
- And is still very attractive
- And skis, hikes, and bikes with me,
- And chases my dreams as passionately as her own
- And is a remarkable mother to our children.
- A daughter who teaches English and laughs at lexical/grammar jokes when nobody else does
- A son whose fierce love for all of us, and relentless pursuit of a meaningful life combine to give him a unique blend creativity, sensitivity, humor, and independence.
- A daughter whose love for all people, births smiles on other faces which are themselves contagious, so that the whole world is a little lighter for her being in it.
- A spacious faith that has room for finding God in many places, including
- film (try Once on for size)
- the outdoors (the snow at Baker is amazing this year… don’t miss it)
- Music (have you heard Jose Gonalez?)
- the Bible (here’s a current read…)
- a discovery in recent years that the gospel, the good news, is very good indeed, offering not only personal salvation, but cosmic transformation. This has given me the chance
- to be a part of God’s redemptive story by caring about things like poverty, AIDS, and the environment. What’s more it has invited me to
- the discovery of my call to simplicity and generosity and
- the development of a rule of life so that I can continue to wrestle with what it means to grow
- life outside the city, where I can write, pray, hike, ski, cook, sleep, and watch trees grow.
- the privilege of being involved in a church that is nearly one hundred years old
- but who has grown younger over the past decade due to the work of God
- who is raising up a generation of leaders to bring hope, justice, forgiveness, and all the rest that is
Christ, to , and far places, Seattle
- and whose leadership has been incredible in their patience, and risk taking in the name of
- The faithfulness of God that has seen me through the traumas of losing my dad and sister at early ages, which resulted in the refinement, rather than destruction of my faith.
- the chance to live in a place with rain, clouds, concerts, a film festival, diversity of people and ideas and one good sports team,
- so that I can’t remember, for a long time now, ever being bored.
- Friends who are my age, so that we can compare aches, pains, physical therapy plans, and walk with each other through the unique seasons of seeing our kids off while our parents grow old,
- Friends who are younger, who challenge my thinking, help me understand the ways in which God is doing a new thing, introduce me to new music, books, and ideas, and even humor me by taking me skiing or climbing once in a while.
- The chances God has given me to teach lesewhere, that have allowed me to make friends in different parts of the world, and thus experience the globalness of God.
- chocolate, especially Milka bars, especially the Joghurt ones.
- French Films
- coffee, especially French press
- the gift of friends who’ve shaped me profoundly and left before me – dad, Scott Becker, Major Ian Thomas, and my sister are four who readily come to mind.
- the belief in a glad reunion with all of them someday, when wholeness will be the order of the day
- Frederich Beuchner
- friends who are serving
Christ around the world in desperate situations. They humble, inspire, challenge, and enliven my faith on a regular basis
- Steven Spielberg. He's still the one living person I'd most enjoy having over for dinner. Who else creates across such a diverse spectrum?
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer. His Letters from Prison, and Ethics both challenged to find causes for gratitude every day.
- Ecclesiastes, my new favorite book of the Bible, still captivating me after its rediscovery one year ago.
- The Cinque Terra - memories of being there with my wife still haunt me...in a good way.
- My friends who run a healing house in
. They challenge my thinking and have been foundational in a reawakening of my own practices of prayer Augsburg
- the reality that I’m old enough now to really enjoy the students I teach. I’m not nervous as I once was. Who, after all, am I trying to impress? And why?
- the capacity to roam the North Cascades on foot even though I need to do a little Yoga when I’m finished.
- I still enjoy playing the piano
- I’m not deaf yet, even though I played the drums for 13 years in a row
- Memories… more than 52, which remind me that all’s well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.