I know we are all finding a minute or two this week to do a gratitude check. But today I am feeling overwhelmingly grateful. Today Greg and I celebrate our 20th Wedding Anniversary! It feels like yesterday when we got married at First UMC Asheboro that beautiful November day. I think that time does go quickly when you are with someone who so complements your life and makes you laugh and goes the extra mile (literally, in his car, every single work day!) to love and support you. So today, that is what I’m feeling the most grateful for, my amazing husband Greg.
But this year, I have many things to name. I won’t go through them. Because they mean so much to me does not mean they mean anything to you. But I hope you will recite your own list. What I will say is that as I reflect on my life right now, I am in such a different place than in years past. The best way I know to sum it up is that when I teach Spiritual Gifts and you are operating out of the way God has gifted you than I use the metaphor of the “sweet spot” of a tennis racket. When you hit the ball in the sweet spot it feels just perfect, the ball goes right where you aim it to go and there is no jolt or vibration felt in your hand. That sweet spot is small so one has to hit it just right.
If I were actually playing tennis I would be unbelievably frustrated since that is one of the sports I struggle playing. Because I am much better at finding the “dead spot” of the racket when hitting the tennis ball. You know that place. Where the racket jars your wrist all the way up to your shoulder and the ball bounces off the top of the racket in the wrong place. Which of course, sends it over the fence so you have to go chase it. (Racquetball anyone? Much less frustrating for me!) That dead spot where the ball doesn’t spring off the racket with power and force, but ricochets carelessly losing momentum by the second.
But right now in life, it feels like I’m finding the sweet spot of my racket. Finally. And I am thankful. Unbelievably thankful. Now, that doesn’t mean everything is perfect. That would be heaven or utopia and not every day life. But in this season in my life, I am feeling profound gratitude for each day. For a life in ministry that gives meaning and that allows me to use the gifts God gave me to in turn help other people use the gifts God gave them. Ahh, sweet spot. To see the Holy Spirit move in people’s lives so they are transformed, new, forgiven or compassionate disciples. Ahh, sweet spot. To see a church embrace Jesus’ call to love all people, especially those on the fringes and to love them in an empowering and “we all have our stuff” kind of way, not a “I am better than you and will show you how to do it” kind of way. Ahh, sweet spot. To look out the back window of the parsonage and see the mountains sprawl before me reminding me this is one of the most beautiful places in North Carolina. Ahh, sweet spot. To feel the love from my husband, two sweet kitties, and my dear family that has stood by me and the good and bad of my life’s adventures. Ahh, sweet spot. For unbeleivable friends who have been traveling the excrutiatnily difuclt path of mininstry and life together for 10+ years now and without whom I’m not sure I’d even be able to hold a racket let alone hit the ball. Ahh, sweet spot.
So yes, this Thanksgiving, I will name very deliberately the many sweet spots in my life. The things that are of great blessing, no longer jarring my body or spirit but instead for this season of life are operating smoothly. I will not take them for granted for I know that the sweet spots can be replaced with the “dead spots” of the racket in a heartbeat. And life is a rhythm that naturally swings with ups and downs. So as the world around me rocks and rolls as it has been doing of late in perplexing and disturbing rhythms, I am so thankful I can bring the focus to that which immediately surrounds me and find a bit more stability and predictability and quite frankly, see Jesus more clearly. Ahh, anotehr sweet spot. Thank you to those around my little orbit who reflect the love and life of Jesus. This world needs it so badly right now so shine on!
It’s Thanksgiving. What are your “sweet spots”? Do they know? Name them. Acknowledge them. Give thanks for them. Relish them. And most importantly, keep swinging.
Grace and Peace,