Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Week Flashback: Seven Blessings

Few have as much for which to be thankful on this American holiday. Here is a post I wrote about a few of my many blessings. It was written in February 2007.

Seven Blessings: First Edition

I am surely the most blessed human being in the world. I am so incredibly blessed that it is hard to know where to start. Since this is the first edition of what will, perhaps, be a series, I feel an obligation to be basic.
Two of my sisters (I have five) have already posted theirs. You can check them out at Sunday Seven.
Here we go --

1. I am constantly blessed by my family:

I live with someone who loves me and whom I love and trust and have fun with. I have two daughters who love me, tell me so, and despite their occasional aggravation with me, seem absolutely devoted to me. I admire each more than they can know. I am the son of an incredible woman who is a pastor, writer, poet, wonderful cook, and loving mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. I am a sibling to six other people and a brother-in-law to several more and the uncle or cousin of a bunch more, all of whom get along remarkably well, with only occasional growls - usually about political stuff - all of whom love each other, treat each other's children like their own, and seem to actually enjoy being together.

I had a father whose love for me was unconditional, thank goodness, since I was a petulant teen at times. I was spoiled rotten by my paternal grandparents and adored my maternal grandmother and even though my mother's father died when she was a child his tremendous influence on her and her siblings was a positive influence on me as well. I don't want to leave out my wonderful aunts and uncles: Aunt Mary kept my baby picture on her bedroom wall till the day she died. Uncle Tom, the State Patrolman, let me off the hook and didn't tell Mama and Daddy when he stopped teen Terrell that night ("Please, Lord," I prayed, "don't let that be Uncle Tom!" It was.) Daddy's brothers called me "Sampson", Uncle Grady still does, and teased me mercilessly, (and I loved it) and slipped me nickels for slushy Cokes out of the barber shop Cokebox and dimes for ice cream cones down the street at the drug store.

My wife's family adopted me as soon as Sheila did, as a full-fledged member of that family, and I love them just as much as my own.

2. I am blessed to be an American.

Other countries' skies are as blue; their mountains are sometimes even higher; their flora and fauna as fascinating; their people and customs as intriquing; or as Lloyd Stone wrote in the wonderful hymn:
This is my song, Oh God of all the nations,
A song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my sacred shrine.
But other hearts in other lands are beating,
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight too and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
Oh hear my song, oh God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.

I will not pretend that my country is perfect. It has often fallen short of its promise. But what a promise. What a dream. What a beacon of light it has been at its best!

3. I am blessed to have wonderful friends.

Friends like Mike Burton, Mike Bock, Steve and Laurie Craw, Mildred and Phillip Greear, and many more, have shared our joy in good times and helped us bear our grief or other troubles in hard times.

4. I am blessed to have a job that I enjoy.

They pay me a pretty good salary to corral a bunch of nine- and ten-year-olds every day and tell them the stories of our wonderful country and help them explore the wonders of our beautiful world. And I do it on a big campus that includes a beautiful brook, steep hills, mixed woods, some boggy bottomland, and grassy meadows and that borders a huge wildlife sanctuary.

5. I am blessed with pretty good health for a nearly sixty-year-old.

I take an aspirin a day, a small BP pill, and something for triglicerides. I have an achy foot and generally achy joints, but after I quit taking Crestor, the big hurts stopped (If you are taking that stuff and start to have major joint pain, talk to your doctor!) Trying to get the cholesterol down with oatmeal and walking is sometimes a pain, figuratively, but getting it down with Crestor was always a literal pain.

6. Speaking of walking, I am blessed to live where a wonderful walking path goes right past my backyard.

I walk at least 3 to 5 times a week usually 2 or 3 miles at a time, along our scenic Riverwalk or through our quaint downtown. My companion is a wonderful conversationalist, who laughs at my wit, and who loves me - my wife.

7. What a blessing singing has been to me.

It has made me a bunch of friends. It helped me win Sheila. It has allowed me to show out on stage in a bunch of musicals. It provided me some of my favorite experiences with my daughters. It gives me some of my favorite teaching moments. It has given me some of the most intensely joyful moments of my life.

Oh, my! I've just gotten started! But Sundays roll around every seven days.

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