The Gratefulness Challenge

A friend suggested I share this list of gratefulness as a blog. So here, minimally modified, is my response to the facebook gratefulness challenge.

Don - "Love, Hope, Believe"

Don – “Love, Hope, Believe”

I was nominated by a friend to share in the gratefulness challenge for five days, posting three things I’m grateful for on each of those days. I was supposed to nominate 3 other people to do the same, but elected to twist the rules of this facebook game a bit and invite by private message before naming, also inviting people to private message me if they’d been longing to participate in this reindeer game and had been treated like Rudolph thus far.

Day 1 of 5
i) I am grateful that a loving, forgiving and redeeming God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) has engaged His love and forgiveness in my life and continues to redeem the consequences of my sins, selfish preferences and interests in a way that (astounding to me) honours Him.
ii) I am grateful for Gloria, who has stayed with me in faithfulness to God and our wedding vows through the realities of two less than perfect people living together in marriage, securely anchored in Him even when it seems a little rough on the surface.
iii) I am grateful for Grace, our daughter, whose name recognizes that she is a gift from God to us – welcomed into our home at 2&1/2 months and experiencing life in our little (and extended) family for what will be 27 years in a few weeks’ time.

Day 2 of 5:
iv) I am grateful for a delightful grandson, John, who focuses our love and challenges us to be more.
v) I am grateful for a broken and real family of origin whose strengths, quirks, failings and overcoming love helped shape me to be who I am and Whose I am.
vi) I am grateful for friends, in whose company I have been made and am being made a better person than if left to my own company alone.

Day 3 of 5:
vii) I am grateful that my parents chose Canada as the place to which they would emigrate when leaving Barbados in the 1950s.
viii) I am grateful to have been born in Canada, with a robust Bajan heritage and a robust Canadian heritage as my birthrights.
ix) I am grateful to have lived on the First Nations reserve at Lax Kw’alaams (Port Simpson, BC) for 3 years (adopted into the Tsimshian nation), establishing the foundation for relationship and friendships with First Nations’ people across our great nation of Canada.

Day 4 of 5:
x) I am grateful to have served with several wonderful organizations and their teams – among them The Salvation Army, Catch the Fire Toronto Airport, World Vision Canada and The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada – which on the best days were like heaven on earth and on the worst days evidenced simply that everyone is as human as I am.
xi) I am grateful to experience and enjoy the privilege of equipping others to live lives that make a positive difference within their spheres of influence.
xii) I am grateful to have learned early in life the importance of serving others and influencing public engagement and public policy in a way that is beneficial to community, province, nation and planet – something I’ve had the privilege of doing since high school, most recently influencing raising the age of consent to sexual activity with an adult from 14 to 16; stronger penalties for sexual crimes against children; implementation of a national action plan to combat human trafficking; establishment of the Office of Religious Freedom to address matters of religious discrimination and persecution around the world; supporting the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health initiative that flows out of the UN Millenium Development Goals; implementation of a motorcycle safety campaign in Ottawa that is now impacting the province and the country; changing Canada’s prostitution laws to target the power brokers and provide new freedom to the oppressed; and participating in interfaith initiatives that promote principles of pluralism and democracy

Day 5 of 5:
xiii) I am grateful to have travelled to several nations and continents, particularly Israel (which is heavy on my heart at this time) where I walked where Jesus walked and spent time in conversation with today’s “living stones” of the land on both sides of the fence: Jews and Arabs; Christians, Muslims, Jews, Druze and Atheists – some who have generations in the land and others who are in the immigrant generation; and, people on the street and people in positions of political power.
xiv) I am grateful for the sense of freedom, fun and fantasy as well as the friends that accompany the joy of riding a motorcycle.
xv) I am grateful to have been invited to share a sampling of that for which I am grateful. There is so much more. This has been a terrific exercise for someone who is currently spending time in reflection and preparation for what is next in life. I am grateful that I’m not done yet! Yes, there is more to come…

I look forward to reading what the three who agreed (rather than were appointed) have to share, as well as others who in time accept the challenge. There is much for which all of us can express gratefulness!