I write this on the dreariest day I’ve experienced in a while. It’s grey and cold outside, a harsh wind is roaring around the house, rain is pelting down thick and hard, striking the windows with every gust of air, washing away the last of the heavy ice that carpeted everything the last few days.

And I think: is this a gale? What is a gale exactly? Consulting definitions tells me “gale” is a nautical term, defined by strong winds. The National Weather Service says gale-force winds run from 34 to 37 knots. (Ah, I think, that old pun in The Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy’s last name was Gale, was more specific than I realized.) Further research converts 34–37 knots to between 39 and 54 miles per hour.

This storm is maybe a gale. Or maybe it’s just a nasty storm with gusting winds. More importantly, since I still have power and heat and water, shelter and safety, within which to do meaningful work, it’s only when I begin writing this that I begin to appreciate my circumstances. Until now, all day I’ve just been going from one thing to another, answering emails, writing, researching, talking on the phone with colleagues and parishioners. The day is almost over and this is the first moment I’ve appreciated the coziness of my old, sturdy home that has surely sheltered many souls through many storms worse than this. This is the first moment I’ve been grateful that the possibly gale-force winds haven’t blown out the power in my neighborhood.

Oh gratitude. As usual, I’ve been preoccupied and seduced away from you by the clamor of the world and all there is to do. Thank you, old house. Thank you, strong walls, solid roof, faithful windows, for letting in light and holding in heat and keeping out the wind and rain. Electric lines that haven’t given way. Thank you, dogs, for your companionship and the soothing quality of your gentle snores and your willingness to only go out twice so far in this bluster that you find inexplicably delightful. Thank you, fate and luck that have given me a home I love and work I love and so many good people to work with and a family and friends to love.

Once I get started, the doors of gratitude fly open. Thank you, life – for my safety and my health, my hopes for the future, and the lessons of the past. Thank you for my loving spouse and all his family that have become mine. (It’s getting hard to stop. These wintry moments of reflection are dangerous!) Thank you for air I’m breathing, and water that is everywhere, in and around me, especially today.

Thank you for the vision of those who are determined to save this planet’s future, for the miracles that are all the creatures who share this world, for its deserts and mountains, its oceans and plains, for all those who dwell there. Thank you to all those who do so much to make this world better for others.

Thank you for this moment that is my life, in this time and place, for freedom from pain and want, and for the unease of my privilege that keeps me urgent for justice. Thank you for this gratitude, for awareness of my existence and the many gifts I have right now. Thank you for the storm.

See you in church.

Rev. Liz Lerner Maclay, Minister
Office Hours: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday