Anniversary

I am here in bed at the end of the anniversary of my birth today.

It has been a long and tiring day, and absolutely full of the kind of blessings that enrich my life.  I celebrated Eucharist this morning above Long Island Sound at Camp DeWolfe with this year’s summer staff as they completed their weeks of training.  What an amazing group. How full of faith and love and grace.  I spent time with the dedicated (and small) staff of Saint Anselm’s, celebrating the retirement of one of our own, a great woman who has been a sign of welcome and love to the children and parents of the parish for the better part of three decades, day in and day out.  And tonight I sat here in the rectory in conversation with four of this summer’s camp staff, two from the UK and two from Poland.  What a blessing to sit and talk and get to know young people from these nations who are full of life and possibility.  

A staggering (to me) number of people shared happy wishes on Facebook and by text and on Messenger and by phone – family and friends, near and far.  Some I see often.  Some I have not seen in decades.  How could anyone deserve such an outpouring, I say? But you don’t have to.  It is, truly, all grace.  Gifts given and received.

Two songs sum me up at this point in my living.  One is the Canticle of the Turning, expressing the certainty that the world will turn to the way intended by its Creator and Redeemer.  Justice and mercy will in the end embrace all that is.  I need to hold this truth in the midst of a daily world that speaks a different lyric indeed.  

The other is the 19th century tune of Robert Lowry, How can I keep from singing?  The beauty there is the seeing deeply that all in the end is so beautiful, so good, so filled with the love of God that no other response is justified save a lifelong hymn of praise.

Thank you, Lord, for life and for every breath; for every word spoken and heard; for every heart open and for the blessings that lie ahead . . , especially when they cannot yet be seen.

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2 thoughts on “Anniversary

  1. You give grace out, John, so it is no surprise that it returns. Yet in a paradox, both are somehow eternally a surprise. Even with you! That slight surprise keeps us alive.

  2. Remembered you and Sr. Rose Marie at Mass yesterday. Hope you received my ecard.
    Love and prayers,
    Anna-Marie

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