I’m grateful. So very, very, very grateful.
Grateful – in a way that this little word can’t contain. (You know those languages that have many words to describe love or snow or forest?)
I am grateful – Like the feeling that your head is going to explode – in a good way – With the most beautiful fireworks you’ve ever experienced. Or that your heart is so full that it can’t contain it all – and so it overflows with warmth and love, flowing through your body all the way to the tips of your fingers and toes.
I am grateful – Like standing on a beach watching an entire sunset. Not just until the sun goes down below the horizon, but watching colors change in the sea and the sky -- all the way into the beautiful night.
Grateful -- Like hiking above tree line on a sunny June day next to alpine meadows and cold, rushing streams. (Not all the elation is from lack of oxygen.) It’s the exhilaration of being alive and walking on an earth that is more mysterious and beautiful than we can imagine.
Grateful -- Like the feeling of being scrubbed clean by an Oklahoma wind. Like warming up after a walk in fresh, unblemished snow on a snow day. Like eating the first tomato from the garden, holding a new puppy, or finding a hummingbird nest.
I am grateful – Like the feeling of oneness that you have when you find the Holy One sitting right there with you and your weeping friend. Like the moment in the worship service when you stop worrying about whether the piano needs tuning and you notice the Spirit sweeping through the congregation – through you.
As I step through this threshold into retirement, I am grateful – For all the experiences. For the people I’ve had the opportunity to meet and work beside. For the chance to impact the lives of people, and be changed by them as well. Grateful, even, for the mistakes and the missed opportunities, for they are part of the fabric of my being.
I’m so, very, very, very grateful.
(In the fullness and expansiveness
of this tiny, inadequate, yet perfect, word.)