It’s my birthday. (That’s the part that is about me.)
But the part that is not about me is this: I am grateful for my friends and family . . . for my three children, Matthew, Drew and Katie, (and Laurie and Marta by way of marriage) and I’m so grateful for each of them. I am grateful for their mother, Marti Colglazier, who held our family together year after year, and I am grateful for Charlie and Caroline (grandchildren), and I am grateful that my daughter Katie will have an Easter baby next year, and I am grateful for my lovely, caring, sweet wife, Alex Paxton, and her two children Hays and Owen, and her wonderful parents, Glenn and Leslie, and I am grateful for my amazing church, First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, and the staff of the church and the lay leaders of the church, and I am grateful for friends who have made amazing contributions to my life through the years, and I am grateful for experiences, some painful, some full of joy, but all of them continue to shape me as a human being, and I am grateful for my wonderful sister, Nancy, who has always checked in on my at the right time, and I am grateful today for my faith in God, a faith that is bigger and broader and deeper than what I could have ever imagined years ago, and I am grateful for artists and writers and painters and musicians and composers and actors and dancers and theologians and poets and sculptors, women and men who provide insight into the outer world and inner world of my living. I am not old. I am not young. I just am. It is in my am-ness that I seek to become the human being I want to become. On my birthday I think of Jerry and Diane, my friend David Farrar, and I still miss my friend Don Battjes so much. I never thought I would like Los Angeles. But I do. It is an amazing city. I love New York City too and would visit more often if I could. I have been going to Carmel, California for 30 years. It’s not exciting. There’s not much to do in Carmel. But I love it. I live. I write. I read. I walk the dog on the beach. What can I say? It’s my soul-home. My parents are no longer alive. I am a motherless and fatherless child. But I am walking home toward them. God is my mother. God is my father. “When will I ever learn, when will I ever learn, to live in God.” (Van Morrison). I am walking home and I am doing my best to walk others home too. With love and compassion and kindness, I am trying to walk all of you home. I have made so many mistakes and have had my share of false starts and u-turns in life. But here I am. It is my birthday. I will write in my journal today. Walk on the beach. Work on a sermon for this coming Sunday. I will listen deeply to my soul. I don’t mean that in a pretentious way, I only mean that I will try to pay attention today.
Take a Breath today. I humbly ask, if you would be so kind, if you could find it in your heart, if you could only pause for a few seconds today, please Take a Breath for me.