For the 35 plus years I have had with a woman I love, and whom I still delight in seeing and spending my time with.

For the jazz musician of a son who married the saxophone playing valedictorian he fell in love with and is making a life with.

For the artist of a son with an eye cast for beauty and a heart built for kindness.

For the poet of a daughter who, with her husband, enjoys wine, star-fish, dolphins, mermaid tails and whatever else happens at the ocean.

For Jacob, the three year old grandson who loves to ride in his rainbow wagon, read three books before bedtime, and sing songs on the swing in the back yard.

For Elizabeth, the three month old granddaughter who is finding her smile, babbling at whatever delights her, and who feels perfectly made for the arms that hold her while she sleeps.

For an invitation by the Holy Spirit to spend my life in service to the Church, and her continual abiding and brooding through the ups and downs of now over 30 years of ministry.

For the living Mother who continues to let her seven children and twenty eight grandchildren know how much they mean to her and that no matter where they are or what they’ve done, Mom loves them and for the now almost two years deceased Dad who gave me a name and a history and the pride I feel carrying it on to and through two more generations.

For baseball and bike rides, poetry and carpentry, long novels and interesting biographies, the New Yorker magazine and the New York Times crossword puzzle, Baking shows from Great Britain and Rock videos on YouTube – those things that distract and delight me, giving my life a good balance between hard work and generative play.

For hymns that delight, sermons that provoke, prayers that move, worship that inspires, choirs that rejoice, and communities that gather in love.

For companions who have been there now for decades, always willing to take the next call, hear the next rant, admonish with a firm conviction and a tender touch, and just be there.

For laughter and tears, hopes and fears, delights and delusions, and any other emotion that emerges to remind us that life is experienced in troughs and triumphs, valleys and highs, shadow and light and that God blesses it all.

For Cali and Gaza, Cairo and Budapest, London and Frankfurt, Geneva and Jordan, Cuba and California, Sicily and Beirut – and all points in between whose architecture, whose cuisine, whose neighborhoods and neighbors prove to me that God’s hand is evident in all times, places, and peoples and that no one anywhere delights the Creator any more or less than another.

For all this and more I give thanks.

My life is rich.

I am blessed.

May it be so for you on this, your journey Into the Mystic.