Here is the prompt from over at revgals today, beginning with this quote from Tolkein.
Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam.
Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.
“In these last few weeks there’s been all kinds of bad news. Tornadoes and a blizzard. Gun violence and a legislative body squabbling like toddlers over budgets, health care and who knows what else. For those of us in the US, it’s tax season. Yuck.
We’re only in the second week of Lent. Easter’s a long way off. And here in the Mid-Atlantic region, the weather can’t seem to make up its mind. Is it winter? Is it spring? Will it snow? Will it rain? Are my daffodils doomed if they actually BLOOM next week like they are threatening to?
So this week’s Friday Five is courtesy of my good friends Frodo and Sam. Tell me 5 things that are good in our world. Or your world. Photos are a bonus.”
So, here are my five, recognizing that there are a million things for which I am thankful and that are good in my world. This is a difficult exercise, for me, actually. Not because I’m not thankful. I am. But because I don’t want to flaunt.
In no particular order.
1. Boise. I love living here. Quality of life is great. Live a mile from the foothill trails. Can be cross country skiing in less than an hour. Fun concerts and theater in the summer. Boise is a big enough city to have restaurants, concerts, etc, but small enough to not really have traffic problems. Great schools. I’d tell you all to move here, but then we’d have traffic problems.
2. Justin. Thankful for my husband. We have been married over 20 years now, (which seems hard to believe–how were 12 year olds allowed to marry???) and things may be better now than they have ever been. So I am thankful he has been willing to put up with me all this time and has been willing to keep working at the relationship.
3. Sons. This ends up being a complicated category for me, (see this post if you need the short version of a long story) but the three sons to whom I have given birth are all blessing for me. Eric is now 23 (24 in June! ack!) and I am so thankful to have any role in his life because he is such a great young man–brilliant, kind, funny, hard working, and thoughtful. I am so thankful for his family and their presence in my life.
And then Alden and Elliott. I really enjoy the time I get to spend with them. They are fun, interesting, caring, brilliant, wonderful, and all of those other things mothers say about their kids. (But it is true! All 3 are amazing! I promise.) Alden will go off to college in another year, and that reminds me to treasure this time with the boys while we have it. We know that the point of parenting is to prepare your kids to move out and live their own lives, but I am sort of hoping they both want to live in my basement forever.
4. Calling. I have a pretty sweet job, but it is more than just a job. I have the privilege to be paid for what I am called to do. Not everyone’s paycheck and calling overlap, so that is a gift. Southminster is a congregation of great people, and it is a privilege to serve as their pastor. I’ve been able to work in lots of great church contexts, but this job is definitely the best use of me. This week, among other things, I have blessed a new home, talked about website design, listened to the Session debate using part of the church grounds for a garden area for refugees, discussed the Dalai Lama at Men’s Breakfast, preached at a retirement home, and received drawings of megaladons and blue whales from a 5 yr old boy. I love my job.
5. Friends and Colleagues. I have friends I get to see every week, and some I see every 5 years, and even some I have only interacted with online. But whether they are casual friends, or the people I talk to often, I am thankful for the range of friendships I have. If you are taking the time to read this, you likely fit in this category, so thank you.
I also have great colleagues. Clergy here in Boise, some of whom meet with me weekly for Bible study, some of whom I see monthly for clergy lunches or other gatherings, make my life better and more collaborational (I just made up that word). I also have a great network of clergy friends across the country. From PCUSA friends to RevGals, I am thankful for their support in my life.