In an extension of the Thanksgiving theme, for this week's Friday Five Singing Owl has invited us to
"list five people for whom You Give Thanks to God and maybe tell us why they are significant."
That is such a struggle.
I'll immediately disqualify my children, about whom I write with disturbing frequency (and whom I was thankful for on this very blog only yesterday)...
I'll disqualify, too,the majority of my girlfriends, who were so very much in my thoughts as I gave thanks for friends in general yesterday.
To choose anyone seems invidious...but....here goes....
My father - about whom I have blogged before, when marking anniversaries.
I never knew him in adult life (he died 3 weeks after my 18th birthday) but throughout my childhood he was the great constant, the source of unconditional love and approval...the one for whom I tried my hardest to "achieve" and who took the greatest delight in my achievements...the one with whom I could share my joy in music making...who took me for country walks and showed me beautiful places. He was also the one who got up in the night if I had a bad dream, who took on much of the every day running of our home (Mummy was in very poor health, waiting for heart surgery till I was 12 and then slowly recovering from it) who always, always put his own needs and interests last.
My strongest warmest memories are of burying my face in the navy blue jumper he always wore at home (I guess there were a succession of these - in my mind, the same one lasted all my days) and enjoying the feeling of complete safety and love that all parents long to pass on to their children...and of watching him standing at the sink wearing a striped butcher's apron, washing up after supper night after night. As long as Daddy was in the kitchen, the world was surely OK...
E - again, I've written about her here before. My "honorary mother", the one who cared for me when Mummy's spells in hospital would have created chaos for my father, as he tried to balance my needs with those of Mummy in ITU 2 hours away in London and hold down a job as well, the one who cheered me on through my teens and twenties, who provided a home base where I could spend time whenever I wanted, after my parents had died...who became the perfect honorary grandmother for my children...who is the person I'd most like to become in retirement...serene and loving, enjoying everything that life offers but demanding nothing. Age is beginning to hit her memory...which I can't quite bear to think about at the moment, so my thankfulness will focus on those lovely summer holidays when my children were small.
(This is becoming a bit of a sob-fest. Looking back to be thankful is fine, but let's change focus now for some gratitude more firmly rooted in the present)
Wonderful Vicar, of course...Wise colleague, caring friend, someone with whom to pray, to share ideas and worries, to laugh wildly (I'll never be able to read Jeremiah without incipient hysteria rising to the surface. Why? The story is here)
I can't think there could be a better training incumbent - working with him was a real blessing, which I was conscious of even as I experienced it (but even more so now I bumble along as an incumbent myself). I do hope my successor appreciates him - I'm sure she does.
Best SpirDir Ever - who manages to circumvent the received wisdom that friends cannot be spiritual directors, keeps boundaries beautifully defined but remains the person to whom I can say anything...and who also reminds me to laugh when I'm in danger of forgetting to
Scarily Cool Friend, whom I'd never have dared to speak to had I met him irl before we became friends on-line. We met via Greenbelt, of course, but it was getting to know S that made me realise that internet friendships could become every bit as real and sustaining as those with people living just round the corner.(look where that got me....sisters I'd never have met, trips to the other side of the Atlantic and so much more)
He makes me think really hard before opening my mouth, which is always a good thing...and has an unnerving way of getting to the core of whatever it is that I'm trying not to deal with...Not always welcome, but undoubtedly valuable!
There are, of course, so many people whose presence in my life makes me smile happily...so many that I could and should have blogged about...This isn't a "top five" - I am thankful for so many wonderful souls - I'm pretty sure you are one of them.