on gratitude and another year of life

I subscribe to a daily inspirational email from Plough Publishing. It’s called “Daily Digs”. Today is my 48th birthday and here’s the post:

Daily Dig for February 11 by Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt:

Christ wants to appear to us today – hidden, perhaps, and perhaps only in Spirit – yet not without the clear beginnings of eternal life. Anyone who yields to this knowledge will recognize how real Christ is.

Today I celebrate the truth of Blumhardt’s words. Christ does want to appear to us – and he often does, in so many wonderful, unexpected ways. I am aware of this today as I take a bit of time to thank God for the gift of my life. I am aware of just how profoundly blessed I am.

While I was not what one might call “planned”, I was accepted into the world with love and care. I was given a body, senses, an intellect , curiosity and an innate sense of awe and wonder at God’s creation. These were nurtured by those who cared for me. While there was a good deal of chaos at times during my growing up years, I was always cared for, I believe, to the best of my parents’ abilities and all of my needs and many of my wants were provided. I had an amazing public education that was heavily steeped in the fundamentals but also included art, gym, field trips, music, driver’s education and all kinds of things that are often considered extraneous today. I believe all of these helped to form me. My university education at Marquette included the beginning of my life of recovery from alcoholism, which continues today. I am grateful for more than 27 years of sobriety. Master’s studies at St. Francis Seminary were such a blessing and were made possible by grants, scholarships and wages earned from working.

I was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1993 and loved ministry in that tradition for ten years. At the same time, I struggled mightily with institutional rules, evasion, abuse and structures that I could neither understand nor support. In leaving, I discovered the Episcopal Church through the kindness and outreach of caring neighbors. I became an Episcopal priest and started serving an amazing parish where I still am today. I was blessed beyond words when Gina agreed, after I was here for three years, to marry me. At the same time I became a Step Dad to three amazing young adults. I am proud of them and love them. Almost two years ago I became a Dad when we adopted a little girl in need of a forever home. This morning, that little girl, whose birthday is also today (she’s 8), jumped on my bed to wake me up so we could open birthday cards. “Happy Birthday, Daddy!”, she said. I wished her the same, my daughter.

Looking back, I would never have believed that a birthday morning would have started that way. I would never have imagined that I would find so much love, wonder and awe in my life. I am filled today with gratitude. I look forward to whatever may unfold next. In the meantime, I’ll do my best to live a day at a time, a moment at time, and I’ll continue to seek the Christ who wants to appear to me, and you, every moment of every day.


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