Listen/Watch Here. We are family. We are church. We are community. We are co-workers. We are country. We belong.
But it is I who gives thanks.
For the times when I have been able to form my own opinions and express my true emotions while remaining connected and in relationship to others.
For the times when I have been able to share what I feel honestly without pushing away those I love.
For the people who help me think through personal issues without taking sides or trying to fix me or the situation.
For times when I have had the courage to stand up for someone or something important even though I can’t predict the outcome.
For thinking of many options and possibilities and acting in new ways even when it’s a little scary.
For the times when you have told me what you believe and I am able to listen with respect even though I strongly disagree.
For the times of self-fulfillment, personal groundedness and peace I have felt, and for the times when I have persisted on a healthy path even though I felt disconcerted, agitated or uncomfortable.
God bless the groups I belong to and please guide me each day.
May my eyes be opened when I repeat unproductive patterns of interaction, but forgiving when I see others who are stuck. Be that voice in the back of my head saying, “Stop. Breathe. You are doing it again. Just like you used to respond to your mother/father/sister/brother. Things are different now. You can make a new choice. You really can do it.”
May my mouth proclaim the truth in a calm and gentle manner when I witness injustice, and may I maintain composure and commitment when others respond with hostility.
May my arms reach out to welcome people who enter the groups I belong to bringing odd perspectives and irritating challenges–the new in-laws, the cute babies who grow older, the new members of my religious group, the new hires and recent immigrants to my country. Help me to understand how all of us are valuable and how my treasured friends, family and colleagues, as well as myself were once new faces too.May my head and heart work together to give me the courage to reveal painful secrets so the deep healing can begin.
God, please help me to believe that it’s o.k. for me to make mistakes, but keep me committed to doing a little better this time.
With all my heart I thank you for my family, my church, my congregation, my communities, my co-workers, my country. Belonging often presents challenges, but is always a true blessing.