I Am Inspired

Every night before I go to sleep / I say out loud / Three things that I’m grateful for,
All the significant, insignificant / Extraordinary, ordinary stuff of my life.
It’s a small practice and humble, / And yet, I find I sleep better
Holding what lightens and softens my life / Ever so briefly at the end of the day.
Sunlight, and blueberries, / Good dogs and wool socks,
A fine rain, / A good friend, / Fresh basil and wild phlox,
My father’s good health, / My daughter’s new job,
The song that always makes me cry, / Always at the same part,
No matter how many times I hear it.
Decent coffee at the airport, / And your quiet breathing,
The stories you told me, / The frost patterns on the windows,
English horns and banjos, / Wood Thrush and June bugs,
The smooth glassy calm of the morning pond,
An old coat, / A new poem, / My library card,
And that my car keeps running / Despite all the miles.
And after three things, / More often than not,
I get on a roll and I just keep on going, / I keep naming and listing,
Until I lie grinning, / Blankets pulled up to my chin,
Awash with wonder / At the sweetness of it all.

    —“Three Gratitudes” by Carrie Newcomer

After the John Pavlovitz speaking event on Friday night, I went home absolutely inspired and amazed. But as wonderful as John was, he was not the source of my inspiration and amazement. I was amazed and inspired by you. Now, seeing as we are into our 7th year of ministry together, perhaps I should not have been amazed. But I was amazed—and ever grateful for the many things you continue to teach me.

I wish I could have kept track of the incredible number of people who approached me at the event, thanking me for our church’s overflowing hospitality and grace. “Please let your people know how much we appreciate all they’re doing and their generosity!” Over and over. “They were even outside making sure we got inside safely!” “Oh, thank you for the coffee!” “Everything has been so easy and lovely and accessible and welcoming!” “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!”

And even toward the end of an exceptionally busy fall, your hospitality and grace, your generosity and compassion continues to shine through. And I am left absolutely inspired and amazed. You teach me about the kind of Christian I aspire to be—simultaneously holding the world as it is now and holding a future vision for the world that can be full of greater justice and love and hope. I see you showing up—over and over—holding both of these things. I see you pouring your heart into serving our shut-ins, shepherding our Ministers-In-Training, visiting those in the hospital, giving to the Capital Campaign (and new church windows, lighting, roof, and gutters!), praying for all those in need and praying for all the ways God is present, leading special worship services, singing in the Choir, attending Anti-Racism Training, participating in FLURCH and Adult Bible Study, planning powerful events like Pavlovitz and Haircuts 4 the Holidays, organizing the Stewardship Campaign and Church Budget, being baptized and making baptisms possible, coordinating the Global Holiday Faire and its incredible local and international outreach, asking for help when needed, building / painting / stocking the Free Little Pantry, bringing scripture to life in the Scripture Choir, preparing food to feed whoever comes (There is always enough!), working on Church Councils, committees, gardens, and whatever else needs attention. I see you! And I am inspired, amazed, and grateful for you. You continue to teach me about what it means to live faithfully out of generosity and abundance — even when it might not be the most comfortable thing. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

See you in church,


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