The rear of the sanctuary at St. Philips Episcopal Church
On Saturday, I went to the bookstore at St. Philip’s Episcopal Cathedral to pick up a couple of items. The Cathedral was hosting some sort of fall festival…many vendors selling crafts, clothing, and food.
After doing my shopping, I made my way through the large crowd to the cathedral’s sanctuary where it was quiet and I could sit alone. I spent time reflecting on the things for which I am most thankful.
It’s time, you know, when many in our culture do this kind of reflection for part of one day before going out early the next day to “shop until they drop.” My quiet reflections served as an antidote for this kind of behavior of our larger culture.
Not surprisingly, my reflections focused on four subject groupings for which I am very grateful this year.
Partially because we are approaching the anniversary of her death date, I thought about Lynda and our 43 years of marriage. I am grateful for her love, her hard work teaching school, and her creativity. I know I wouldn’t be a member of All Saints’ Episcopal Church without Lynda helping to lead the way. So as I sat in Atlanta’s Episcopal cathedral on Saturday. I thought of her.
I also reflected on our daughter. Elizabeth has thrilled me all of her life. Always a terrific student, she continues her excellence today in her seminary classes. Her professors send messages (that get passed on to me). I am proud! Read her blog at adventurouslyauthentic.com and you’ll see what I mean. She’s even better being a mother than she is as a student.
I’m also proud of my grandchildren. It’s hard to believe that in a couple of months, they will turn twelve (Katarina) and ten (Benjamin). Both are good students and outstanding citizens. I know you know many other proud grandparents. I want you to know that, when thinking of this grandfather, you can count me within this group.
I also thought of my parents (Wayne and LaVerne Buckner) and my grandparents (Wyman and Maude Buckner and Carl and Nina Lea Travis). They taught my parents about the values that I try to emulate in my family. I am fortunate to have known all four and spend much of my childhood, youth and young adulthood with them,
I am largely who I am today, because of this group of people. I am very grateful.
I’m convinced that there is no person that I know of that has a group of friends as terrific as I do.
My Atlanta group of school teachers, Home Mission Board colleagues, and All Saints’ members have kept me in their lives and hearts for many, many months.
Add to that a new group of friends residing in Birmingham and you can see why I am beaming. Sheryl and I have greatly enjoyed introducing each other to “our friends.” Both among her WMU colleagues and her church congregation (Vestavia Hills Baptist) I’ve listen to many friends congratulate her upon our upcoming wedding. But they don’t stop there. They continue to tell her how very much she is loved by them. It makes me very proud…and I concur with their assessment of her.
Since the middle of September, Sheryl and I have traveled more than 5,000 miles with trips to her sister in Texas and my daughter in Missouri.
We both have loved this fall season. The late-afternoon light on the color-filled trees has often left me speechless.
The Texas landscape…the Missouri farmland…and Kentucky’s Land Between the Lakes…all reflect a unique view of our natural world and taken my breath away.
I’m grateful to have visited so much of America’s Heartland this fall.
If you and I have talked about my own grief process since Lynda’s death, you would have heard me speak frequently about the role that great music played in helping me “cross to safety.”
My iPhone is filled with music that I listen to each night before going to sleep. Among favorites, are Il Trutina (a soprano solo in George Orff’s Carmina Burana) and Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto. If you haven’t heard these recently, treat yourself to these classics.
This fall I’ve also been deeply moved by concerts by the Alabama Symphony Chorus and the Birmingham Chamber Singers. The latter group sang Dan Forrest’s relatively new Requiem for the Living. (see earlier blog). This work has become my current “favorite choral work.” Look on YouTube for it being performed by the Raleigh. North Carolina group, Bel Canto. You’ll love it!
There’s something about great music (even when done by rock and roll performers!) that touch my heart…so today I give thanks for the creativity of all the composers and performers who have greatly helped me through this grief process.
There you have it…the four BIG things that I’m very thankful for this Thanksgiving. I know there are others, (including YOU, reader) but these came easily to my mind during my quiet reflection at St. Philip’s.
What are you especially thankful for this year?
I’m working on a blogs about Lynda and her grandchildren.
I have a terrific photo of the “teacher Lynda” with Katarina. Look for it and some comments later this week.
And if possible, I’ll also do another one later in the week that features Benjamin.
Travel is in the cards for next week as Sheryl and I travel to her brother’s in Columbus, Ohio where we will celebrate Thanksgiving Day with his family.
I’ll get to meet not only her brother and his wife, but also their three daughters and their families. I’m sure you’ll get a blog about some of the happenings.
Have a terrific day!