The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.

Give Thanks in All Circumstances

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for it is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
1 Thessalonians 5:18

I'm not usually one to start things off with New Testament quotations, but this year, this one just really came to my head. Give thanks in all circumstances. Every year, it is very easy for me to be thankful. I have the most wonderful family and friends and life I could ever ask for. They're really just the best. And I got to celebrate with 14 of them today for Thanksgiving dinner, and probably like 10 more of them tonight over some drinks. Though there are usually more like 25 of us for dinner; this year was small due to cross-country moves and hockey schedules and my uncle being so sick. Which brings us to the circumstances of this year. Without going into weird detail to an internet full of strangers, my uncle's mysterious illness has been plaguing him for about six months with no diagnosis in sight. We are, of course, so thankful for each of his 12 doctors and bazillion nurses and incredible people who are caring for him around the clock trying to figure out what's wrong so that they can begin to figure out how to treat it. But it's hard to let this be the will of God. I led my family in prayer before we ate this afternoon, and it was hard to follow the giving of thanks with the plea for his recovery. To all who are giving thanks in the midst of chronic illness or death in their families, I applaud your strength and faith in your circumstances. 

Last year, I wrote something heartfelt and also a true/silly list of things for which I give thanks. I've been thinking of the list all day, so, here it is:

Packer victory
friends who have become family
Berkeley Bowl
the Saloon
frozen yogurt
late nights at Kelsey/Andrew/Danny/Amanda's
Barack Obama
ultimate frisbee
the ocean
leg warmers
Urbann Turbann
high fives
late-night acoustic jam sessions
health insurance
hot tamales
clean, running water
bobby pins
Mumford & Sons
public transit
Rico's breakfast burritos

...while these things are silly, they are the circumstances in which I live, and in which I give thanks. Statistically, I have got to be one of the most blessed human beings to have ever lived. Let's be real, here, guys. Life is good. We are alive. We have those we love around us, for the most part. Things can suck big time, but we go on. I am, weepily, thankful for your existence and your deeply felt presence in my life. The only people who read this with any regularity are those who love me very dearly. All like, four of you? Fletcher, Ben, Kelsey, Joce -- thank you. You are circumstances in which it is always easy to give thanks. Thank you. 

Love and gratitude from me to you, even if you're not one of those dear four. You are someone for whom I give thanks. Guaranteed.


O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

The Power of One?