It's the early hours of Thanksgiving - and I'm the only one up in my house. Relatives are soundly sleeping upstairs, Melanie is still in bed. Thanksgiving meals have all been delivered. My “in box” is empty. That odd “eve of Thanksgiving” service is over. Sunday looms but it’s a long way away. My sons and their wives and of course Lucas and Holley and the joy they will bring in the door with their very presence are hours from arriving - we’ll “do” Thanksgiving supper this year. Our own travel is tomorrow - down to Florence for a meal with Melanie’s wonderful family. I remember when this holiday was a mad dash from where ever I preached on Wednesday night to Birmingham, Roanoke, Athens and back by Saturday night - we’d rack up over a thousand miles in 3 days just hoping we had enough gas money to make it.
It’s very quiet - the TV is silent (no football, no morning talking heads, no way to early Christmas ads, no parade up Madison Ave yet). I hear the faint sound of Melanie’s radio coming from the closed door of our bedroom 30 feet away. It’s just me and my thoughts and God. I’m not expected to work today - there’s nothing that calls for me to be “productive.” Sunday’s sermon is safe in the oven (not completely baked but I could preach it now if I had to). These moments are sacred, special, spiritual. I know what’s coming. The push to “do” to “get going” is just over my shoulder and gaining ground - series to prepare and pump, programs to plan (that word originated from the French word to plant and that is what planning a program is like) and promote. Issues to study and contend with. People to try to understand and help. Those not “in it” won’t get this - but church work should’t feel like “the rat race” but often those of us “in it” feel like we are on that hamster wheel. What’s next, next, next...is it bigger, better? Are the numbers up - the count and the amount? How’s the energy level? Are people happy? No, I don’t think I know a minister who got into this “field” for that but often we end up reduced to it.
It is a special time. I get a few of these every year. Times when my spirit can be still - when I can put aside the push, the noise in my head and house, the seemingly never ending list of what I must get done NOW . Special indeed. In these moments - I breath deeply, I reflect, I praise God and thank Him, I reflect on where I am and where I wish to be. My heart races a little when I realize I still have dreams of what is next. My heart suffers a little when I remember what is lost. My heart rejoices a lot when I think of what God has done with my little talents and when I think of the growth of some of you. I special time.
Well, Melanie is up and sweet smells are ushering the event called Thanksgiving into my world. I know I need to go ask “what can I do” but for a few more moments I’m going to just “dream, wide awake.” The future, the future, the future is as bright as the promises of God.