I was in the process of working on this when I heard about the death of author Terry Prachett. I took a detour then and decided to write about him and the influence his book Good Omens had on my theology.
So here is my “Throwback Thursday a few days late…
“Standing Knee Deep in the River, and Dying of Thirst.”
It is the first week of March, the warm weather appears to be here, it is sunnier later, and the piles of snow are melting away. Spring is finally coming near, and the long, cold hibernation is about to end. I’m in love with an amazing woman, we have fun together, we do things together…live is good.
I’m sitting here with my Google calendars open, I say calendars because I actually have 4 of them; 1) My “Non ministerial day job” work calendar, 2) My “Personal” one which has everything from events I want to attend, weddings and speaking appearances, and family obligations. And I also have 2 others that are also important, at least from May until October- One listing all the Vintage Base Ball matches in the State of Michigan, many I get asked to guest umpire, but I also put out a weekly “flyer” listing all of them and run a facebook page devoted to it, Michigan Area Vintage Base Ball.
The final calendar I maintain is for the site of Old Tiger Stadium in Detroit, the historic corner of Michigan and Trumbull, I am involved with a group of volunteers, The Navin Field Grounds Crew, a group of unsung baseball fans, who have rescued the field from near abandonment by the cit of Detroit, and who try to keep it available, free of charge for people to use, until it is re-developed. I help them by maintaining an online calendar/schedule of events there, and I also bring Civil War era Base Ball (two words) there every Sunday (and some Saturdays and week nights as well.)
The NFGC as they are known have been the subject of an award winning documentary “Stealing Home,” by director Jason Roche (I appear in the after credits scene of the DVD, performing the wedding of Grounds Crew founder Tom Derry and his lovely wife Sarah.)
Here’s the trailer if you’re interested;
The Derrys and the field are also, as I mention in the above sermon, are also the subject of a romantic comedy in production now, called “Babe Ruth Saves Detroit.” (I play myself in this movie, actually.)
My calendar is open to the month of May, the start of base ball season, and between that, weddings, the end of the medschool year with a couple big weekend events and the memorial service I have the honor of officiating, I’m starting to feel a little stressed with all I have to do. And I’m starting to forget that I CHOOSE to be this busy in the summer… I actually choose all my life experiences.
This week’s flashback sermon is a reminder to me, and hopefully a nice lesson for you all on finding the joy in our lives, no matter how hectic it may seem. I gave it late last summer, where I had just completed a particularly stressful, and amazing stretch of adventures… But where I allowed myself to get stressed about it, and forget many times to bask in the sheer joy of all the wonderful, and often unique things I was doing at the time. I was much like the character in the Robert Fulghum story or the song I mention in the talk by Kathy Mattea, I was standing knee deep in the river of an abundance of good…and I was dying of thirst; complaining about it on many levels. Saying I was too busy, too tired, my feet hurt, anything.
Forgetting the time I was so depressed that I spent months not leaving my couch except to go to work.
So this sermon is about the idea of stopping in the midst of whatever we are doing and becoming aware of it, and appreciative of it as well. I explore the subtle difference between gratitude and appreciation, a notion that was new to me at the time of doing the sermon. I find the difference between the two intriguing, and find that appreciation seems deeper.
I conclude this talk by sharing an obituary that went viral a couple years ago. It was about a gentlemen named Harry Stamps, a man who clearly lived his life as the author SARK described; “He lived Juicy”.
Enjoy this talk, I hope it helps you to feel less frazzled and more appreciative of what’s going on in your own lives. And as usual, leave comments in the section below, or use the contact box to the right. And please share my blog with anyone who might benefit by my humble scratchings.
Harry Stamp’s amazing obituary, written by his daughter can be found here.