I am spending 2017 as part of a collective of thankful bloggers who are listing our Seven Gratitudes each Friday.
Visit the collective here and be inspired to be thankful with us!
This week, I am thankful for…
1. The time I met Christine Bryden
Christine is an Australian writer who writes from her lived experience of dementia. I met her at the 7th Annual International Conference on Spirituality and Aging when I went to her workshop. My life would have remained complete with just that handshake, but then she came to the workshop I co-presented with my pastor. She’s been commissioned to write a book on church for people with dementia and wants to be in touch with me. Is there a cloud higher than nine? If so, I’m on it.
2. Creativity unstuck
On the flight to Chicago, I read (most of) the fiction issue of The New Yorker, and reading short fiction began to unstick creative gears in my mind that have been blocked for weeks. At the conference, there was a trained art therapist who helped us make spirit sticks and prayer flags. Both were wonderfully therapeutic to make, and on the flight back home to Atlanta, I wrote some creative articles on dementia and new ideas for creative approaches to spiritual care. Essays forthcoming.
3. Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman was an amazing movie and, I dare say, spiritual experience. I had a moment that I had a hard time making sense of or giving words to, until the Internet exploded with opinion pieces from women like me and texts from girl friends sharing the experience I had: the shedding of all the inexplicable tears during the epic crossing of “no man’s land.” Wonder Woman is every little girl aspiring to traditionally male-dominated greatness. She is every preacHer who has ever been told ” no, you can’t preach here,” “nice speech,” or “I enjoyed your ‘testimony'” after she’s preached a God-inspired sermon.
She is timely and timeless; ultimate girl power and her origin story was unexpected balm to my soul. A.J. gave me a Wonder Woman button today, because “you’re my Wonder Woman.” I’m thankful for Wonder Woman, what she stands for, and also for the feminist men in my life.
4. A conversation with my Niece bear
Yesterday, I had a delightful chat with my niece. When I said hi to get on the phone, I could hear delighted giggles on the other end. When she composed herself from all the excitement of talking to Tia, she rattled off a list of things she had done that day. Then, she told me that she was listening to “Happy Birthday.” She and her parents recently returned from a trip to Costa Rica. When she was a baby, she went with them on a trip to Chicago. I told her that I went on a plane to Chicago this week and she went to Chicago too, to which she adamantly replied “NO NO NO, I went to Costa Rica!”
5. My first taizé experience
Taizé is a spiritual worship experience of prayer and reflection, undergirded by beautiful, repetitive chsnt-like choruses which are sung during the service. The conference wrapped up with a taizé service and it was absolutely wonderful. Listening to the music reverberate around the chapel at Concordia University was greatly peaceful and enlightening.
6. Lots of Learning and new friends
I am so thankful for the opportunity to attend the 7th Annual International Conference on Ageing and Spirituality. I learned so much about care for the aging in many different arenas. I was happy to see American Indian elders represented and look forward to other minorities getting “air time” in the conversation of best practices in spiritual care of the aging. We still have a long way to go and much to learn.
7. I get to preach on Sunday
It’s always a blessing to return to the pulpit. Thankfulness abounds!
How are you thankful this week?