by Karen Ransom
Okay, I have to admit that coming up with something to write about this month for the bulletin has been a challenge for me. Not that I don’t have tons of ideas and thoughts and wishes for the church, but crafting it for publication can be hard. Finding quiet time to sit still and think and write is a challenge amid the busyness of my life. I very much enjoy it when I can immerse myself in that space, but that space can be hard to find.
So, when I don’t know what to say or how to say it, I find myself defaulting back to gratitude. It’s something that I don’t express enough but it’s a really wonderful place to be. So with that, I will simply share what I am grateful for this day.
I am feeling deeply grateful for my friends right now. It’s been a rough month for me personally and I can’t begin to tell you how much the love and support of my tightknit, amazing group of girlfriends, in the form of our self-titled “Church Ladies Book Club,” means to me. We’ve been together for over 10 years and serve as a covenant group for most of us (all of us?). I would be lost without them.
I am also grateful for the love and support of our church staff. We are on an amazing journey together this year that I am so excited about. Being in a position of responsibility and having the opportunity to serve as a lay leader for this incredible congregation is so cool! Doing this work with the committed and talented staff that we are lucky and honored to call our own brings joy to my heart on a daily basis.
We have an incredible Board of Trustees. The many returning members offer great experience and wisdom to lead us into our future. Our newest members bring so much enthusiasm and energy and are eager to engage in the leadership work of TJMC. My partnership with our now Past President continues to be one of mentorship and shared vision. I value this team and our work ahead.
Our youth program is near and dear to my heart. After an amazing year for my teens, they are both participating in their first Appalachian Service Project (ASP), July 24-30. The time, energy, effort, and love that the youth program team puts forth each year is mind-blowing. Thank you for helping me raise my children to be such incredible, grounded human beings.
To the members, past and present, on the many committees and teams I have and continue to serve, you have made me a better person. I have been taught how to listen. You have altered my view on countless issues. I have learned so much. Yet I always leave our gatherings feeling like I have been deeply listened to, that my contributions and my truths are valuable, and that we have accomplished something powerful together. “I put my hand in yours so that we might do together what we cannot do alone.”
And to the friends and not-yet friends with whom I share the pews on Sunday mornings, thank you for showing up, singing, laughing, crying, sharing, and being with me as we worship this life and this world we are building together.
This is, of course, only a partial list of the things I am grateful for in our church community and is by no means exhaustive. But to think of you all, to think of all the hard work and great love and incredible beauty and deep generosity that flows from our hearts through each other and out into the world, feeds my soul. This is why I’m here. Thank you. I am so grateful.