Today is my 55th birthday – double nickels! All day long people have been calling and texting and facebooking and sending me e-mails to wish me happy birthday. It is so nice to be remembered and have so many birthday wishes. I am very thankful for the people that God has put in my path over the years. Today I have heard from family, friends, colleagues, coworkers, former parishioners – all precious blessings in my life.
God blesses us by putting people in our lives who care for us and allow themselves to be cared for. Whether they are people who are in our lives for years or for only a moment, they remind us that we are connected to one another and that God has created us to be part of caring communities. I am thankful for so many people who have loved me over the years. Family who put up with me when I’m not so lovable and friends who have forgiven me over and over and shown me the grace of God.
Today, on my birthday, I am also thankful for new friends – people that Tom and I are meeting on the road. We spent the last three days at RV Boot Camp (more on that tomorrow) and met several couples who became friends in a few days. Like the people we meet when we are doing Habitat builds, these folks are ones that we would love to see down the road.
One example: Saturday night we were eating supper with other people from Boot Camp. It turned out – in our dinner conversation – that one couple had grown up in a huge United Methodist Church in Chicago. Another couple were active members of their United Methodist Church in Nebraska – in fact, the husband was the son of a United Methodist pastor, and the brother of a District Superintendent! Then one more couple joined us at the table and it turns out she was ordained as a United Methodist pastor in East Ohio and he was a pastor’s spouse while she served churches. She is now a seminary professor in Dallas but she and her husband are getting ready to travel full-time soon.
The connections that we make in our faith and in our friends and family pull us toward God even as they pull us together. These connections support and sustain us through hard times and increase our joy as we share good times. What a great privilege we have to be able to share our lives with the people God places in our paths – no matter what directions we go!
These were the words in my devotional reading this morning:
Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8
Thanks to God’s blessings – and the wonderful people who care for me – I have been nourished by holy water and am able to bear fruit.