A viewpoint on Thanksgiving…

I would assume that it is acceptable to present a list of things for which we are thankful in this holiday season that bears the name!  Throughout the days leading up to Thanksgiving, my Twitter account has been active with the thoughts of gratitude by my friends and colleagues.  It is refreshing to hear people give thanks and as the season draws our attention to this–it is good–although we should practice gratitude as a matter of our personal life and discipline. Hopefully you do.

Recently, I saw someone post a deviation of the word “Thanksgiving” instead using the phrase “Thanksliving” and it seemed to click with me.  That’s what I want to be–a person filled with “thanksliving” in that my life is filled with gratitude for the living of life, those who share life with me and the portions of life that enable my faith journey.  So here goes my attempt to articulate…

I enjoy life so much, living and engaging life in all aspects, relationships, challenges, even struggles. This year with Kathy’s treatment, we have focused on the value of living and in doing so we have been able to sort through the clutter to find values to our lives that truly matter to us.  For that I’m thankful.

I’m blessed to have family that is solid, mature and connected.  I cannot speak to the challenges of fractured family relationships because mine are not so and I’m thankful for that–more so, I’m thankful for connection I have with each member of my family.  I respect them for who they are and love them very much.  My wife Kathy is one of the strongest women I know and her courage inspires me.  My son Jeremy is growing and developing as a leader of people and with his wife Corrie, they are growing a marvelous family of young men (to this point) who model well what they see in their parents.  My son, Jason is a fantastic pastor and his passion for worship always blesses me. With Andrea and Sadie, his family examples the kinds of things we would all want in our children.  I’m blessed to have my family.

I’m humbled by the assignment of life that has been given to me in Ohio.  The merger of Northern and Southern Ohio has meant a great deal more work, stretching my abilities and creativity but I’m energized by the task and find that my heart is so engaged with the people and as we seek to understand how God desires to make us and shape us there is much excitement.  No one is happier to be working for God and His people than am I today.

Finally, the years have allowed me a network of young leaders and pastors throughout the church, and the world.  The connection to them through technology and relationship is one of the things I am so thankful for.  I’m not always sure I’m the one to coach them but I feel honored to have the chance to have a front row seat and watch how God is developing the great young leaders of our future.

It is my choice to live, all out, with no regrets.  This has been an emotional and stressful year but when I think back, I would not trade much of it–because in the living–there has been joy!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Bishop Bill