I have been in a real funk lately. I blame the snowballing of events over the past few months:
The call process, which was extremely stressful from about June to September, the period in which: my new church and I embarked upon serious conversation, the church decided to extend a call to me, and I was approved for ordination within 24 hours of . . .
My breast cancer diagnosis, which launched my family and I on a ~ so far ~ four months and counting medical ordeal ~
A new life in a new church, this time as the pastor, which would have been a challenge all by its lonesome self ~
My ordination and second surgery, which occurred within three weeks of one another ~
Our first attempt at Christmas at home since Josh's death, which brought both its joys and its deep challenges ~
And that's only the big stuff.
And yet . . . I am well aware that that sense of being completely overwhelmed by Way Too Much is fertile ground for the work of the one whom Ignatius calls the enemy of our human nature. You can call and visualize him, her, or it whatever and however you want. I, for one, am convinced, after the events of three-plus years ago, that there is indeed a force of evil abroad in this universe.
I am also well aware that the best antidote to that particular power is an insistent response of gratitude. I'm not good at it, but I'm aware of it. And lest anyone think that I am completely and utterly hopeless in this regard, I offer, herewith, five things for which I am grateful at this very moment:
1. The breakfast I shared with The Lovely Daughter and Friend this morning, which includes gratefulness for the fact that our community can support a marvelous new bakery, gratefulness for a Nutella and banana crepe, and gratefulness for the girls' friendship of eighteen years.
2. The many safe, long drives I have made to and from my church, my home, and various medical facilities around here, which includes especially gratitude that there have been no deer-vehicle encounters.
3. The fact that there are two world-class medical facilities within walking distance of my house, which includes gratitude for [most of] the care I have received there, and for some of the extraordinarily gifted and skilled people who work there.
4. A church that has invited me into a loving community and offered me big challenges, both of them just right for me right now.
5. Young adult children who are thoughtful, analytical, insightful, and ambitious for their futures, and eager to discuss all kinds of discernment issues and also Somali pirates (another post).
There's no question that a lot of crappy and unfair and devastating things have happened in my life in the past few years.
And so the gratitude I feel is both hard-won and genuine, stacked up as it always is against a wall of anguish that threatens to crush me every day.
I am, truly, very grateful for all that I have written about here.
Image: Young Woman at Window by Jay Miller, here.