Here in the USA, yesterday was Thanksgiving Day. It’s a national holiday for the expression of thanks to God for a year of bountiful blessings (and for gluttony, three professional and one college American Football games on television and ridiculous consumerism).
Below is a short list of people and things for which I am thankful this year:
• My wife – she tolerates my long work week and odd hours. She is supportive of my calling and helps me connect with coaches and competitors when she is aware of situations I am not. She welcomes collegiate student-athletes into our home every week. We have been married for 35 years and I trust our best days are ahead of us.
• My church – this is a place where I can just be myself. I don’t have to fill any particular role to be accepted or valued. They love me just as I am.
• My network of coaches – I love, appreciate and respect this broad network of men and women who are among the most influential people in the USA.
• My network of Sport Chaplains and Sport Mentors – this worldwide set of men and women are a constant source of inspiration, ideas, challenging thought and innovation. I am thankful for those with whom I’m privileged to serve from Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, Central America and even North America.
• Technology – the 21st century ways for communicating are so vast and immediate that it has enabled people like me to broaden our networks and to be more responsive than ever. Through email, SMS text messages, phone calls, facebook, twitter and more we can connect with the people we serve quickly and effectively, no matter where they are and no matter what time it is. Amazing.
• The abiding presence of Christ in my life - I often wonder what kind of person I would be if I had not trusted Jesus with my life when I was ten years old. How would my life have been different had I balked at His invitation? How much pain and despair have I been spared because I responded to His call so many years ago? At every step along my path I have been carried by the Lord’s grace and have been the beneficiary of situations even when I made foolish decisions and poor choices. I am given favor in places and with people which I neither deserve nor have earned. This is surely evidence of Christ Jesus’ work of transformation in the life of one as weak and flawed as I. For this I am eternally thankful.