Blessings to you and Merry Christmas.
On this morning we rejoice and celebrate the birth of a child who is Emmanuel, God-with-us. On this morning we can take off our shoes because we have now come to Bethlehem. On this morning we are standing on holy ground. Our days into nights into days’ journey through Advent has brought us to this place where a squirming, wiggling, giggling baby has come. He has come to live and to love and to teach us how to do the very same things. He has come to make a home in our hearts.
Try as I might I just can’t remember where or when I first heard those words – “let Jesus make a home in your heart.” My hunch is that it was on the corner of 16th and Broadway at the Methodist Church in Mattoon. My hunch is that I was probably four or five. Last night at the Christmas Eve Family Service at Pacific Beach UMC on the corner of Ingram and Thomas, I was watching a couple 4- or 5-year-olds dressed up as sheep and an angel making up the live nativity scene. I wondered about the message they were receiving and how they were hearing it. I wondered about the ways Jesus was making a home in their tiny, precious hearts.
Making a home in my heart is an encompassing proposition. It’s pretty much about all of it. The place that holds my comings and goings, my nourishings and restings, my restorings and renewings. The home of my heart holds my dreams and disappointments, my stories and my history, hopes and fears of all the years. And this morning when I was waking up, I was thinking about house blessings and how they are a way of naming all of what homes hold. And I turned to my old friend, John O’Donohue:
May this house shelter your life.
When you come in home here,
may all the weight of the world
fall from your shoulders.
May your heart be tranquil here,
blessed by peace the world cannot give.
May this be a safe place
full of understanding and acceptance,
where you can be as you are,
without the need of any mask
of pretense or image.
May this be a house of courage,
where healing and growth are loved,
where dignity and forgiveness prevail;
a home where patience of spirit is prized,
and the sight of the destination is never lost
though the journey be difficult and slow.
May there be delight around this hearth.
May it be a house of welcome
for the broken and diminished.
May you have eyes to see
that no visitor arrives without a gift
and no guest leaves without a blessing.
During these Adventing days into Bethlehem I’ve been mindful of my holdings on and lettings go. I’ve tried to be thoughtful of making meaning of the matters of my life and of my heart. On this Christmas morning as I think about the miracle of stars shining and angels singing all to announce the coming of one soul, I remember again just how precious this journey has been for me. To stop and to start again. To make my way when I wasn’t really sure where the way was going. To continue on with faith and hope and love enough for the cresting of one more hill. Left foot, right foot.
Fred Craddock told us one time in preaching class at seminary, “In your ministry there will be leaving in your staying and staying in your leaving.” Like many of his turns of phrase, that one stayed with me. On this Christmas morning I am feeling Dr. Craddock’s nudge, his encouragement and reminder to not get too comfortable. I can almost hear him saying to me, “Lesley, that’s fine. Those are pretty good words and now, it’s time to find your shoes and put them back on. You aren’t meant to stay here in Bethlehem all day, there’s plenty yet to do. Don’t worry too much, your heart is going with you, and right there, right in the center is this baby born today, Emmanuel.” With the help of John O’Donohue’s blessing, and Dr. Craddock’s nudge I will continue on my way. How about you? You up for the next adventure?
Christmas Eve 2022
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward all people.” And it came to pass… (Luke 2:13-15a, adapted of course because it’s KJV)
About 30 years ago in the mid 1990’s my friend, Sean gave me this angel for Christmas. This sweet soul was one from his series called, “Fat Angels Singing.” Common Ground was my first job after seminary, a program sponsored by the Atlanta Interfaith AIDS Network. Every day from 10 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon, a group on us would gather in an old house on Juniper and spend the day. No two days ever the same.
We were a gaggle of folks infected and affected by HIV. It was before the use of protease inhibitors and many of the guys were pretty sick. As I’m typing, I’m remembering that back then we had an AIDS quilt hanging on the wall in the art room with names and pictures of friends who had died of AIDS. In those days, we were adding to the blanket once a week or so. “Imagine a circle and God is in the center. Imagine that we are all the spokes on that wheel. The closer we get to God, the closer we are to one another…”
Each day folks from different congregations (Unitarian, Jewish, Christian) would bring lunch and then spend the afternoon together. This was a place where folks leaned in. We’d talk and go for walks in Piedmont Park. We’d talk and go to the movies or bowling. Sometimes we’d just talk. It was a different time in those days. No one had an agenda, folks just showed up with and for each other. Thursdays were always Art Days. Judy, our shaman would lead us in art projects. It was on one of those Thursdays long ago now that my Fat Angel came into the world through Sean’s hands.
I’ve haven’t (yet) given Sean’s angel her own name. When I first met her, she was a member of a ceramic choir, an ensemble. There were ten of them or so. Not that she has ever been intentionally nameless, that’s not it all it. Instead in my first meeting her, I had the impression that her voice was woven with her sister on her left and on her right. My first impression was that her voice was a part of a bigger voice, a bigger song.
I look at this round, blue, precious angel thinking about how different the world is now than when Sean gave her to me thirty years ago. Sean has died and so has Judy. So many of those souls once shoulder-to-shoulder around the art table are no longer with us. Long since pictures sown on a quilt. Now thirty years have passed, and I’ve moved from Atlanta and live 8 blocks from the Pacific Ocean. So many changes…and yet…and still…
On this Christmas Eve the story goes that an angel sang, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill to all people.” And this day into this night, we are leaning in. As we seek to move closer to God, may we not forget that we are also moving closer to our neighbors … closer to those who are sick of body and spirit, to the young and old ones who are cold and hungry in Ukraine and Gaza, in Peru and North Korea, to those who are experiencing homelessness in such cold weather, closer to those in jails and prisons. On this Christmas Eve I am listening for my friend, Sean’s angel. This Christmas Eve I am hoping to hear her good news proclamation and to hear her song.
Into this silent night
As we make our weary way
We know not where,
just when the night becomes its darkest
and we cannot see our path,
is when the angels rush in,
their hands full of stars.
Kneeling in Bethlehem by Ann Weems
525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear.
525,600 minutes - how do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.
In 525,600 minutes - how do you measure a year in the life?
How about love?
Measure in love.
Seasons of love.
Friday, December 23, 2022
It’s been a year. 4 seasons. 12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. 8760 hours and 525,600 moments.
What would be remarkable and lovely and so life-bringing for me would be to invite each of you into a little booth like I imagine StoryCorps to be. I would invite you to share as many stories as you would like about this past year. It would be remarkable to share that time. It would be lovely to hear your stories. And it would bring me life to bear witness and offer an `Amen’ in whatever way felt good for you.
Don’t know if you ever saw the musical Rent but this song was such a gift from it. Every time (so far) it’s brought tears with its singing. Maybe from its beauty, maybe from its fragility, maybe from the gift of paying attention to this one precious life we’ve been given (thank you for reminding us about that, Mary Oliver).
If you invited me into that StoryCorps booth knowing we only had an hour together, I wonder where you’d start. Chronologically? Alphabetically? It would be tough as I imagine myself doing it for you because there have been inches and miles, laughter and strife – and then some. There have been loved ones to thank for ever and ever. There has been despair and loss where words fall short. How do we measure this time? How do we measure this year of our lives?
Well, I invite you to take some of our remaining minutes of 2022 and do just that. Find a friend, find a pen and begin your telling. Not because someone someday may want to hear or read it. Do it because it is your story to tell. And there is love there. And we, none of us, want to miss out on that.
Thursday, December 22, 2023
More light is coming. On this first morning after the Winter Solstice, we’ve been promised that – and I believe it. Partially because I believe in dragonflies…
My Mom died in October 2005. Somehow throughout our lives, she had a way of showing up at all the best times for my sisters and me. So often she would show up wordlessly, intuitively to offer support and encouragement. She did that for me three years ago and especially in these again growing lighter days, I continue to treasure her gift.
That Spring into Summer of 2019, I was going through one of the hardest times of my life. On what started as a typical Saturday in April, my world abruptly stopped turning on its axis. And because life sometimes just happens as it happens, that afternoon I’d been asked to lead a retreat with women from our church.
When we arrived at the retreat, we were given a couple hours to wander around the property. There was a lake, and I headed out to it. I found a spot in the sun and tried to catch my breath and find my heart. Time passed and I noticed that several dragonflies kept circling round, some landing on my arms and legs. There were so many dragonflies that at one point I wondered if I was in danger of being stung to death (if they had stingers) or at some point they would carry me off someplace…
My friend, Kent was hosting the retreat at her farm. She and her husband, Bob were amazing artists, and their works could be found all around the property. It wasn’t until a few hours later when I was walking back to join the group that I saw a 20-foot metal, red dragonfly looking as though it was taking off from the water. I remember wondering how I could have passed it earlier and not seen it. Right foot, left foot.
Throughout that summer, I kept seeing dragonflies in the most unexpected places. Many of those sightings were when my friend, Kimberly and I were playing golf. I could most always see one or two of them when we were teeing off at the 9th hole. Those summer days were hard days for me. I felt robotic, conveyer-belting my way through most of my days, with very few moments of feeling alive and awake. Right foot, left foot. During that summer, I was also training for 2 triathlons, one in June and the other at the end of August. It was on the day of the June Tri at Calloway that I came to understand Mom’s gift.
Sister, Betsey was my coach and tri-partner. We had finished the swim and were on our 10-mile biking challenge. I’d gotten off the bike for two hills already and on my third hill, I got off and put my head on the bike seat, “Go on, Bets. Leave me here. I can’t do it.” Sweet sister just grabbed her water bottle, took a sip and said something kind like, “It’s OK. I can wait. I’m not leaving.” And she didn’t. Soon after I re-mounted, finished the bike, went on and finished the 5K. And (proud to tell you) I achieved my two goals: “I won’t be last, and I won’t die.” Later that afternoon we all went to the pool to cool off. I was sitting on a lounge chair, reading a book when a dragonfly landed on my knee. In that moment, the dragonfly - finally - had my full attention. She (my dragonfly friend) turned and faced me, and when she did, I knew. Immediately I came to understand. “Hi, Mom,” I said.
In that moment I understood that Mom had been with me all along. She'd been right there back in April when my world stopped turning and she was there with me on that day at Callaway. In that moment my heart knew that she had been with me the whole time. She had been there in that 20-foot red dragonfly taking off from my friend’s lake and she was still there with me on that sunny, warm June day after the triathlon.
She continues with me, still.
Light returns. Sometimes Light even comes back stronger. Dragonflies, and as it turns out, I believe that Mom had been with me when I needed them most. Mom didn’t have advice or words of wisdom; she didn’t solve my problem or take my pain away. She was there with me. And the gift for me was and continues as I am typing this story, that – by taking on the whimsy and persistence of the dragonfly – she’d journeyed with me – the whole damn time.
My deep thanks to Dave for sharing this picture
One day is set apart when the earth leans away from the sun as far as she can go, and in the earth’s leaning we, who are living with grief can see with the outside world what we have been feeling for so long on the inside. Today marks the Winter Solstice. This day is called the shortest day. Known by-heart each year by many of us as the longest night. On this one day into night, the universe and each grieving heart seem to be woven together.
In the Native American tradition, this night marks the season of gathering together with family and friends. It was a time of leaning in and telling stories. No longer planting or hunting, this time of midwinter reminded many that it was also important to sit and listen. Time to share stories that their grandparents had passed down. Time to hear these stories as if for the first time. These were stories that needed time and space; stories told from the inside out.
And as we continue on this Advent journey, I am grateful for so many of my passed-down stories. Stories told by loved ones, and stories we continue to pass on to those coming after us. Stories of remembering that can make us laugh or cry or both at the same time. Stories that may feel thin at first, perhaps some of their details feel elusive, and then somehow come to life in their telling.
Again, this year, I am sensing nature’s universal compassion with the return of this Winter Solstice. Again, this year, I am so deeply grateful for our earth’s yearly marking of this longest night. I take comfort in its coming round again. In these journeying days, my tender heart has been overhearing echoes of loved ones gone. I’ve been remembering past Advent seasons shared with dear souls no longer here beside me. I am missing family members and friends who brought wisdom and insights, brought comfort and joy. With earth’s gentle nudge, tonight I plan to sit and listen.
In his Four Quartets, T. S. Eliot wrote, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” His words bring comfort on this darkest night. They speak of coming round again. His words speak to the not-knowing and somehow not-needing-to know. They speak to faith that holds time and is not bound by it. They speak to hope that knows our story held in stories long told with a peace beyond our understanding. These words speak to love that leans into the YES, the universe continues to sing with each sunrise. Day into night into day again. Now and not yet – held as one.
Let me remember beyond forgetting –
let me remember –
let me remember always
for my spirit is often shrouded in the mists –
let me remember beyond forgetting
that my life is not a solitary thing –
it is a bit of the rushing tide
a leaf of the bending tree
a kernel of grain in the golden wheat fields
a whisper of wind
a reflection of sunlight
it is fleeting –
it is of the moment
it is timeless –
it is of eternity.
~Sing With the Wind by Winston O. Abbott
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Abbott seems to know well of the moments that somehow are both timeless and fleeting away. Our Advent journeys lend themselves to reflections like these. Our life events just can’t be categorized or inventoried. This journey to Bethlehem, these days of wondering and wandering offer time for gathering-in what is still precious. For offering prayers of thanks for gifts given and received. And these Adventing days are for letting go of what is no longer needed, of letting go of what is too painful, too burdensome for even one more step.
Let me remember…let me remember beyond forgetting… Abbott’s words are from a little book of poems published in 1968. It was given to me by my grandmother, Dorky in the summer of 1978. It is a beautiful keepsake that has been packed and unpacked and re-packed over the years. I wonder why my New England grandmother gave it to me. Was it the simple drawing on the cover of tall grass that reminded her of her kin in Illinois? Did she thumb through it and land on a poem that reminded her of me? Was it this one? She died in 1986, so I will never know. But today I’m grateful for her gift. I love that she was thinking of me and now, years later she’s with me as I am remembering her.
Let me remember… hands held through the years. My maternal grandfather had age-spotted, farmer hands. Not really a talker, instead he was more a “patter.” My most treasured interactions with him were times after supper at their dining room table. His hands would be resting on that white tablecloth, and I would lay my hand on top of his. And then he would put his other hand on mine and pat. No words or even eye contact, but in that simple gesture I felt his intentional, deep connection to me.
And let me remember… smaller hands held. I treasure that brief window of time holding the hands of Brogan and Sam as they were growing up. Now their hands envelop mine, but there was a precious time when we would be walking along and each of them would reach up for me and I could fit their entire hand in between my thumb and first finger. I wish I could remember some of those walking-conversations, but I treasure the memory of holding each boy’s hand.
Let me remember beyond forgetting…with friends and family. Feasts around tables. Abundances of laughter, tender tears, treasured stories shared and held in loving hearts. Square and round tables, small and large. Endings and beginnings again. Walks along the beach and walks around the block. Waiting for sunrises and savoring sunsets. Walking around gardens at Lullwater and Central and Egleston. Songs around campfires or playing guitar in the backseat on trips. Phone calls and facetiming and zooming. Drives across country. Singing in stairwells. Let me remember …so many things. I know that my life has been blessed over and over and over again. How precious to imagine a place in my heart that is somewhere beyond forgetting.
Remembering God, how great your heart must be. Day-after-day from before we even knew time, you have been remembering the greatest and smallest of us, all that you have created. You have been holding on to hearts broken and healing, spirits singing and dancing. God of immeasurable time, your heart holds us in this very moment. And we are so very thankful for that. Amen and amen.
Monday, December 19, 2022
First of all, credit goes to my partner, Lori for the theme of today’s blog. Blessings was her sermon yesterday in the context of the Luke reading of Mary and her meeting with Elizabeth. Lori spoke about the gifts of blessings, one to another. I especially liked it when Lori said that sometimes just when we need to – a blessing welcomes us to see ourselves through someone else’s eyes. So, thank you, preacher for bringing this image to the forefront for our wondering and wandering today.
Blessings are all around us in this season of Advent. Maybe I’m just hearing them more clearly in these days. Here we are less than a week before Christmas Day and we seem to be, so many of us in so many different places. Some of us are wrapping up gifts and skipping down sidewalks and whistling our way in and through one day into another. Some of us are on autopilot trying to remember where we last saw our keys. And many of us are somewhere in-between. Blessings to all of us and for this moment of this day, wherever we are on the journey.
My friend, Jan has such a beautiful gift of offering us blessings. Words for holding on and for letting go. Words for beginning and ending and beginning again. In her Advent Retreat this year she shared this most remarkable gift:
What I know is that anything we get to keep has everything
to do with love. This season is stubborn in how deeply it wants
us to know this: that amid what is temporary, love persists;
it finds us again and again. It is what connects us to each other,
calling us to recognize and respond to that connection and to keep
turning in wonder toward the complicated world. (Jan L. Richardson,
from “The Repair of Wonder”)
Each time I read this, I am reminded of faith enough, and hope enough. Each time, in this blessing Jan reminds us, proclaims to us and insists on our behalf that `love persists and will find us again and again.’ Thank you, Jan, for these precious and gracious words as we are living through these growing darker days.
Blessings can be used to wish us well. `God-bless-you’ took on a deeper, more powerful meaning when I would sneeze during those darker COVID days. Remember? Not so long ago, when we weren’t sure which way was up, this blessing of just three words was an affirmation that offered light to me in what felt like too much darkness. `God bless you’ felt like an acknowledgement. It was a voice of another saying, `I see you,’ or `you are still here with us.’ `May God be with you and whatever brought that sneeze,’ resonated so deeply within.
There are blessings that serve as benedictions for one another. They can be used when a time together has ended, and each is going on her own way. “God be with you,” or “take good care,” can serve as a way of making holy the leave-taking. These blessings have often reminded me of a greater presence in our midst, and that in our leaving each other, no one went on alone.
And then there is bless your heart. In the South this phrase can mean different things. Every now and then it can mean different things at the same time. For this day, for these words, bless your heart is being said in its most genuine and loving way. In these words, dwells a blessing from me for the best of things for you, today and in the days to come.
May God bless you and keep you; may God's face shine upon you and be gracious unto you; may God look upon you with kindness and bring you peace. Amen.
Imagine that the world is a circle,
that God is the center,
and that the radii are the different ways human beings live.
When those who wish to come closer to God
move towards the center of the circle,
they come closer to one another
at the same time as to God.
The closer they come to God,
the closer they come to one another.
And the closer they come to one another,
the closer they come to God.
Likewise, the further they move from one another,
The further they move away from God.
~ Dorotheus of Gaza from The Letter from Calcutta (Instructions VI) (adapted)
Today marks Advent’s fourth Sunday. For this last week as we are journeying to Bethlehem, we will consider how we are seeking love along the way. Today might be a good time to take a few deep breaths. It might feel good to take a minute to think what has been picked up or discarded in these past weeks. We still have some ways to go, and there’s time to shift what we are currently carrying or decide what is no longer needed for these coming days.
On this fourth Sunday we are considering the notion of a wheel and Dorotheus’ ageless words. It’s interesting to wonder how these words were heard in Palestine when written in the 6th century. It’s interesting to think how generations of souls have resonated with this image over time. And even as I was typing them, I noticed how these words came alive again for me. So simple, and still so profound. So easy and so hard, both at the same time.
I wonder about companioning these words in the coming days between now and the ending of this journey. Just these words guiding my feet and my actions. If my intention is to draw closer to God, then I am told it matters that I use just as much energy leaning in toward my sisters and brothers. Those folks I call by name, as well the stranger on the street. Likewise, if my intention is to be a better neighbor, then it matters that I am loving God.
Not long-ago Lori and I hosted some of our neighbors for an impromptu happy hour. We only knew our neighbor next-door and hoped to get to know more. It turns out of the 12 of us, 8 were under the age of 35. All of those "youngsters" are working in IT from home. Most of them are runners and bicyclists. Probably because Lori is the pastor at the Methodist Church that is on our block, our neighbors asked `what kind of church’ it is. We both started talking about being open and affirming, and then I remembered this quote from Dorotheus. And the bicycle wheel. I described the church as hoping to live into Dorotheus’ image for the world. It was an amazing moment to watch them while sharing the image. To a person they were nodding and saying how that made sense. They were saying, “That’s how all churches should be.” And they should. And they can.
So, thank you, Dorotheus for these Sunday words. Thank you for these every-day-going-forward words. May we be mindful about whether or not we are moving toward or turning away from. Drawing closer or away from. Leaning in or pushing away. Our intentions with these coming steps.
Saturday, December 17, 2022
Most every night when the boys were growing up, we would say prayers together. They would do whatever cleaning up and brushing teeth and eventually each one would crawl under his sheets. Saying prayers and singing songs at the end of their days was my favorite mothering of Brogan and Sam – well that and coaching baseball, but that’s another story.
Of course, some nights went smoother than others. Truth be told, some nights prayers probably didn’t happen. But most every night, the boys and I would say prayers together. They shared the same room until Brogan was 10 or so. The practice grew-up with them, shifting and adapting to fit the three of us, individually and together.
When they were little-little we would talk about their days and then say the Lord’s Prayer and sing a couple songs with the guitar (Christopher Robin, Jenny the Flying Girl). When Brogan started going to kindergarten, I was really nosey about how his day went and his answer was “fine” or “ok,” so we added another piece to our ritual: `best thing and hardest thing.’ Each of us would take turns saying what the best thing was of their days and also what their hardest things were.
This was such a good practice for me. Often, when it was my turn, I would say that that time with them was the best part of my day – and it was. `Best and hardest’ was a way to bless each day. It grew into being a chance to pay attention. A way to mark each of our moments and then to share them with each other. In the midst and mess of whatever was going on in the world outside of our house, this nightly practice became a way to breathe-in just how precious this time was with my sons. We sang spirituals and goofy songs and songs I’d learned at camp. Through those years, we often ebbed and flowed together.
Best things and hardest things of the day grew up with the three of us. Sometimes our conversations were funny, sometimes they were tender. Sometimes they shared something really sad that a friend had said or done that day that had hurt their feelings. And that was so hard for me. I reassured myself that I was helping them say good and hard things out loud, but sometimes the tenderness of those sharing’s broke my heart.
One night somewhere along the way after we’d checked in with prayers and were gonna start singing, Sam said something like, “Lelley, why don’t we say what we are hoping for, too?” And in that moment, time stopped. Why hadn’t I thought of that? Of course! What a great idea! Broadening our stories with each other, opening our stories to what could yet be was truly a life-gift. Thanks to Sam, our practice opened just a bit wider. By adding that practice of saying our hopeful thing, right away I didn’t worry so much about them being in the midst and the mess of the world. Here at the end of the day they were able to talk about the good and hard things. We were leaning in and listening. And each night, thanks to a little child leading us, we were welcomed into hope, into seeing something better.
Thanks to Ed and Deb (aka Amy) for today's picture.
Friday, December 16, 2022
Every now and then I imagine how I would like to return if given another life after this one. Well, given another life that isn’t human, that is. My second wish would be to come back as a tree. I would like to be a big, old oak tree in central Illinois (I know, I know there is WINTER there…) and I would like to grow up and grow old by an elementary school right by the playground.
My first wish? Ah, that one is easy. I would like to come back as a pelican. I have been a lover of pelicans for as long as I can remember. I think the thing I love most about them is that they don’t appear to have much of a job description. For years and years, that has been the biggest draw for me. Well, they do have one job -- to eat. And what I love even more about pelicans is that they don’t really appear to care at all about what they look like while they’re getting their job done.
Yesterday I was walking by Mission Bay and there was a flock of them. I stopped to watch for a bit. Every so often one or a couple would take off. They’d fly low along the water, then gain a little altitude, maybe circle round and then bound into the water. No points at all from any of the judges for style or performance. -0.0- But time after time, the pelican would resurface, paddle around a bit. Swallow and fly on back to the group. How’s that for function over form?
While I was watching yesterday, I was imagining having a conversation with one or two of them about the whole notion of “hope.” I’d hate to put words in their beaks, but I imagined that for them “hope” is the first next thing. It’s not something held onto or fretted about. It’s not elusive, it is real and tangible and tastes like fish.
But truth be told, in my perfectly imperfect human body, in this life I am living this very day, I am continuing to be a believer in hope. Throughout my life, hope has brought light to darkness; hope has time and again gifted me with energy enough to try one more time. Hope isn’t a concrete knowing; it isn’t that one piece that will miraculously solve my puzzle. Hope is believing in what might be something kinder, better, brighter. Hope is what is just up the hill a bit further on.
Ever Gliding, Seeking, Plunging God, thank you for this life. Thank you for gifts and graces shared. Thank you for all the holding on and letting go's. Thank you for companions who sit with me, resting and waiting. And thank you for those who choose to sometimes soar with me from there to here. Thank you, grace-full One for this precious day. Amen and amen.