Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Thanks Be to God for All Who Made You!

Mystery of Faith, Ruby Swinney, South Africa.

Earlier this month my sister and brother and I remembered the 80th anniversary of our parents’ wedding! It reminded me of my 2012 post, “The Making of You”  and its gratitude for ways my parents shaped my character, attitudes, compassion, and interests.

As we approach the American observance of Thanksgiving this year, it occurred to me to present again a part of that reflection to encourage you to consider all who shaped you. At the end I encourage your participation, inviting you to share on this blog the kinds of people who made you into who you are today.

Here’s the excerpt and invitation from the earlier post:

During my morning prayers I thanked my parents and I thanked God for their having me, caring for me, nurturing me, and encouraging my independence. In my book, The Final Deadline: What Death Has Taught Me about Life, I pointed out that, despite their deaths decades ago, they continue to teach me. Some new experience or wisdom will come my way, and the proverbial light bulb will go on over my head, “Oh, that’s what Mom meant! Or that’s what Dad felt!” Many readers recognized that experience in their own lives.

I used to send Mom flowers on my birthday, following the practice I learned from a friend. After all, she was the one who did the labor that made it possible!

On my own birthday last fall, I began thanking God for my parents, siblings, cousins, nephews, grandparents, aunts and uncles, Jesus, God, faith, and so on, and then I continued, thinking of all the people who had shaped me—lovers, friends, neighbors, church members, clergy, political leaders, communities, movements, environments, etc. A morning meditation became a day-long and then week-long reverie remembering all who touched my life in meaningful ways. The list became REALLY long when I began naming teachers! And then, authors!

I can never claim to be a self-made man, thanks be to God!

Who all made you?

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This Sunday, November 24, 2019 I’ve been invited to speak to Atlanta’s First Existentialist Congregation (UU) in the nearby neighborhood of Candler Park on something preparatory of Thanksgiving, November 28. I chose as my topic “Considering Gratitude for Things that Don’t Make us ‘Feel’ Grateful,” suggesting the value of setbacks, failures, losses, and opposition in our lives. I will offer an excerpt of that talk as next week’s post the day before Thanksgiving, encouraging similar feedback.

The Amazon link for The Final Deadline:

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