today, i am thankful that i was laid off.
it’s a choice, more than a feeling.
i cannot, no matter how much effort i apply to the task, think of a single challenging, painful, or hurtful experience in my life, whether by my own doing or done to me, that i would now wish away. i cannot think of one of those that god didn’t use for growth or benefit or shift or some other good purpose.
i cannot believe that this current situation would be an exception to that rule.
so, today, i choose to be thankful that i was laid off, in the belief and hope (the christian kind of hope that is, more equal to confidence than wishing) that this is all very, very good. in 5 years, i won’t be willing to trade this for the world.
(looking forward to a houseful of 20 thanksgiving dinner guests today, also!)
– my wife, jeannie, who is my best friend and continues to challenge me to grow, while giving me grace when i don’t.
– my daughter, liesl, who is becoming a beautiful young woman in every way.
– my son, max, who makes me laugh, and shows me new depths of sensitivity and inquiry.
– my parents, who continue to love me and provide a roll-model for me of a life given to god, to hospitality, to ongoing growth, and to each other.
– my home church, who love me and are present to me.
– my other church, who are humble enough to know they don’t have it all figured out, and who allow me to serve.
– my co-workers at ys, who love youth workers enough to push through a challenging season and give of themselves over and over again, and who are so quick to forgive when i’m my leadership is lacking.
– my friends at zondervan. the 2 1/2 years we’ve been owned by z have had their share of transition lumps. but i believe that the people of zondervan genuinely want to protect ys and our mission. in this challenging year, i’m not sure we would have survived as an organization if z didn’t have our back.
– san diego. wow, what a place to live.
– my new house. our move has been such a good thing for my family, and this is our first thanksgiving in our new place.
– friends, near and far. i could list hundreds here, literally. so many meaningful relationships across the u.s. and canada, throughout latin america, in the u.k. and australia and new zealand and parts of asia. the world has never seemed smaller to me, and my network of meaningful friendships has never been richer.
– god, who waits for me. i stumbled onto this thought while giving my talks at the nywc in pitts and nash. i think god’s grace is most clearly shown to me these days in god’s willingness to wait for me.
– youth workers i know, and those i don’t. i am continually blessed and encouraged by the stories of people who give of themselves on behalf of teenagers. mmm. so beautiful.
– butter toffee peanuts
– stuffing and gravy (the best part of a thanksgiving meal)
– amazon kindle
– good coffee
– music that rocks. music that makes me cry.
– good books
– quality, hand-rolled, long-filler cigars
– my bed
– my pillow
– occasional upgrades on planes
– noise canceling headphones
– comfortable underwear