Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A year of gratitude

I'm at work today, in my job as a hospital chaplain, where a year ago at Thanksgiving, I was in the same hospital with my oldest daughter, who attempted suicide. At our morning devotion today, I reminded my colleagues that the work we do is important. Having the chaplains stop in to the hospital room, or to see them in the hall and receive an encouraging hug was critical in my ability to cope last Thanksgiving.

What a difference a year makes. When I look at Emma and see the vibrant, healthy, humorous and beautiful young woman she is, it is hard to believe that we almost lost her a year ago. I wsa just reading through the CaringBridge notes we got back then, and the supportive and loving emails from our friends and family. I can't even come up with words for the gratitude I have that she is still alive, and here in my life. I love her so much that it makes my heart hurt. I love our little one on one chats, I love her sense of humor, I love her style - and I love that even though we don't always see eye to eye, we love each other anyway.

I am grateful for the last six months of being in our own home again; my husband's childhood home. I am grateful that my other three kids have come out the other side of a chaotic time of family loss, a house fire, chaos, and illness. I am grateful to be doing ministry that makes my heart full every single day, and to be working with the most amazing resident group in the world. I'm grateful to work for a hospital that values our spiritual healing as much as our physical and mental wellbeing.

I'm grateful for my husband. He has been a rock, through some of the worst times I could have imagined. I hope that I am half as good a wife to him as he is a husband to me. I am grateful for my family, and my Meadville Lombard colleagues, who are always just a text or a phone call away, and who check in on me when I don't keep in touch.

I'm grateful for music and laughter and love and my dog, Jake. I'm grateful to climb into my awesome bed every night.

But mostly I'm grateful to be part of a faith community that lives its values. It is the strength of my call to ministry, of my relationships with amazing colleagues and congregants, and the power of spiritual practice that has gotten me through and given me the gifts that I have in my life today.

Blessings on all of those who have touched, and continue to touch our lives in so many wonderful ways. Namaste.