I am grateful for the shape of my life. I am grateful for the ways that I am gifted. And even though I am often jealous of other people‘s gifting, I am glad to be me. I am grateful that I have found a vocation that is just right for me. 
It combined so many things that I love: solving problems, teaching, learning new things, trying new things, helping others, relating to the outcast, orchestrating an amazing machine with lots of moving parts, crossing cultural barriers, and sharing good news for a better world.

I am grateful for the people I journey with. I love my family of origin. I love the legacy they have given me. I love the family that I created with my wife. I look forward to the possibility of loving families created by my children. I love the community that I have created In my various workplaces. I love the community that is being formed in the ministry to homeless young adults. I’m grateful for my church family—groups that form For worship, discipleship, service, morning, celebration, and discernment. Each is unique and a blessing.

I am grateful for money, but I am more grateful to be freed from its enslavement on my life. I think it no small chance that God changed me from being employed to create wealth to being called to serve others without wealth, Without the possibility of company ownership, and without further amassing personal wealth. I am truly glad to be dependent. I always was, but it is a blessing to see the literal dependency on the gifts of others to follow my vocation. I am not creating a company that I own. I am not creating a profit. I am not being paid what I am “worth“ by trade or training. I am supported by the gifts of others who have come to understand my calling and want me to pursue it. God‘s blessing in my life is bigger, but is hard to name and earthly blessing larger than the support of so many people for my vocation.
As unexpected as the blessing of support has been, probably the most surprising blessing has come from including 5000 or more homeless broken and simultaneously amazing young adults in my life. They are so interesting. They are so strong. They are so diverse. It is not the reward of serving them but simply the reward of being with them that is such a blessing. The things they have taught me. The things they have made me think about. The glimpses of life that I can never fully understand but that I could also never experience myself. They have added a richness to my life that was completely unexpected. The blessings dwarfs any gratitude for accomplishment Or even growth that could come from serving.

I cannot write about gratitude without mentioning my sweet and amazing loyal companion, Rosie. That God would create a relationship between a man and a beast of such depth boggles the mind. Truly do know the love of a dog is to learn something of the unconditional love that God has for us.

I am grateful for the rhythms of life. For day and night. I used to bemoan that there wasn’t enough time in the day until someone pointed out that it was beyond arrogance To force everyone else to endure another hour just because I felt like I didn’t get enough done. I am grateful for the rhythm of a week. Often it feels as if Monday through Saturday is some type of marathon. But somehow I cross the finish line into Sunday and into worship.

There I am refreshed and rejuvenated and somehow ready to run into the next week. I am grateful for the rhythm of the seasons. I try to enjoy the cold of a cold day, the heat of a hot day, and everything in between. They are exactly as created and I was created to experience and indeed live in them. And I enjoy the rhythm of the calendar. Birthdays passing. Holidays celebrated. I have come to see the wisdom in the ecclesiastic calendar. The beginning of the year without vent. The celebration of Christmas. Preparation for Easter. A risen Lord. Pentecost. Life with the spirit. It all feels right. 

Finally I am grateful for perspective. Whether it’s focusing on tiny things or stepping back to see the big picture. Whether it’s looking externally or looking inwardly. Whether it’s looking to the physical world or into the spiritual realm. There is an order And a beauty and a wholeness. It is good. But the fact that I can twist any of it for my evil purposes keeps me humble and grateful for forgiveness. Jesus loved me first. He was willing to give up even Godhood to save me. And heal me. And restore me. This is why I believe. This is why I behave – at least to the extent that I manage to behave. This is why I follow. And this is why I serve. 

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