During the month of November I’ve watched several friends post as their Facebook status something they are thankful for each day. This week Lauren over at Sipping Lemonade posted her wonderful list of 100 Reasons she’s thankful. My brief, inadequate list is below.
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Family. The first half of the year (8 months actually) was all baseball. The nerves of watching my oldest, a freshman, play on his high school’s junior varsity team. The excitement of watching him and his teammates on the summer junior legion team play to a 37-9 record and a 5th place finish at the state tournament. The joy of watching my younger son’s little league team learn to play the game on the dusty fields downtown. Taking it all in with my wife and our young daughter. Of losing many a game of Candyland and playing picnic with my little girl. Enjoying a quiet and gorgeous autumn. Of Friday night football games, pre-school classes and First Communion preparations. Of extended family on the farm and on the Missouri River in South Dakota. Reunions, birthdays, holiday get togethers and visits.
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Friends. The many good and friendly people we got to know while taking in over 80 baseball games this year. Those I work with. Our best friends whom we stayed with too short a time in Minneapolis over the summer, but who were kind enough to shuttle us back and forth from the Twins/Red Sox game. For my high school classmates who I joined in early September for a 25th reunion gathering on the Platte River at the beautiful home built by one of us. About a third of our class returned that night to watch the big orange moon rise over the river; I loved every minute spent with the friends of my youth. For the men who met at my home each Tuesday night for the past ten weeks to watch the 10-DVD “Catholicism” series. We were disappointed to see it end last night. For one of my best friends who at long last became a father 10 days ago, at the age of 42. I couldn’t be happier for someone than I am for Chris. For Rhonda, Mary and Amy who brought me a beautiful rosary blessed in August by Pope Benedict. They brought it back from Madrid where they attended World Youth Day. For Fr. Craig, ordained this spring, whom I first met when he joined our Godteen group as a 14-year old and is now a man of God. And not the least of all, all of you who have taken time out of your busy lives to read me. Thank you.
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Shelter: For our home, full of noise and laughter and love. We did some remodeling again this year (between baseball games) with just a few more things to do in our original ten year plan. Even when the water softener decided to spill its guts (literally) into each pipe and faucet and fixture in the house and cause a major headache, I loved this place. I plan to stay until they wheel me out, whether to the ambulance or the morgue. I hope I can. I look forward to the days of relative quiet when I can read and enjoy my bookcases and shelves lined with books. But not yet. Not yet.
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Faith: For our extended parish family at St. John’s. Our pastor Fr. Lyle, even though he remains a Yankee fan. For all of the many good priests we know and love. For all of the people in my life who “put on Christ” each and every day in their words and their deeds, many giving of themselves without a second thought. For quiet mornings praying the Liturgy of the Hours on my patio on weekends, and again under my living room lamp at night. I’ll close by citing the final paragraphs in Fr. Robert Barron’s book Catholicism, a companion to the aforementioned series on DVD.
And I have based my life on the knowledge that God speaks with greatest clarity in the Bethlehem baby, too weak to raise his head but more powerful than Caesar Augustus, in the rabbi who, trumping the Torah itself, told all of us how to find beatitude, in the warrior who picked a fight in the Temple precincts, in the young man, tortured to death on a squalid hill outside Jerusalem, with the words, “Father, forgive them,” on his lips, in the risen one who said “Shalom” to those who had abandoned and betrayed him, in Maschiach leshoua, Christ Jesus, the Lord of the nations.
To hear the echo of God’s voice in all these things is to be a Catholic.
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Levity: And finally, I’m thankful that my parents never bought me this for Christmas. I’d still be attending physical therapy for the neck injury that would have followed.