“Name them one by one,” the song says. So here goes:
1. I’m running, not far or fast, but pain-free for the first time in quite a while. I’ve shifted my foot strike from my heel, which is where it’s been since fourth grade, to my forefoot. “Barefooting” as it’s sometimes called. I don’t exactly run barefoot on asphalt (ouch!), but I do use a “minimalist” training shoe, the Nike Free. This is supposed to be more “natural,” the way you were meant to run back in the day when your survival meant eluding a predator such as a saber-toothed tiger or that annoying herd of mastodons that lived over in the next valley. Another name: “Chi running,” as it’s supposed to evoke the balance and peace of Eastern religions. Ohmmmmm…
2. My two favorite college sports teams, the Crimson Tide in football and Duke in men’s basketball, both won national titles this year. The Tide receded a little this season but can still “make some noise” in Friday’s Iron Bowl versus $cam Newton and his Doo Wap Barner Boys (obligatory anti-Auburn Iron Bowl week taunt). I finally visited “Basketball Mecca”, and my Dookies have reloaded and appear poised to dominate yet again. Coach K just keeps right on cookin’ up championship caliber teams.
3. Speaking of cookin’, we’ve discovered a couple of great places to eat, spiritually speaking that it is: The Christian Scholar Conference and the Tokens Show. The former I’ve written about here, and in 2011 it appears I’ll be heading to Pepperdine University to help convene a friend’s paper session on science and theology. As for the latter, it’s a unique blend of old-time radio, music, comedy, satire and theological ruminations, just my cup o’ tea (and I don’t even like tea). This past Sunday night’s show at the storied Ryman Auditorium–the audience sang “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” a capella along with the Nashville Chorus–was a sublime “worship” experience.
4. Our house is getting a long overdue makeover. How much of one, you ask? Even our exterminator guy got confused and thought he was at the wrong house.
5. I managed to get out of my “comfort zone” and finally make it to Guatemala this year for a little medical mission work. I dedicated that trip to my deceased parents. I think they would have been pleased.
6. I had the privilege of being in the audience at Harding University as Jerry “Boo” Mitchell and his wife Karen were honored as Alumni of the Year. That was a sight to see for these presbyopic eyes. I think many in the audience that night were unaware of the magnitude of Jerry’s work relative to the American Civil Rights era. You could almost hear an audible gasp when it all finally hit home.
7. I have a new pen pal in a faraway place. He has an amazing story (and some amazing stories to tell), and I feel blessed to have made his acquaintance. The story of how we “met” is an interesting one, and perhaps someday I’ll share it.
8. My sons continue to make me proud that I’m their father. They don’t always do things the way I would, but that’s probably for the best. We’ve taught them to think for themselves, and lo and behold, they’ve gone out and done just that.
9. I danced with my lovely bride at my 30th high school reunion. For those of you who grew up in the Church of Christ, you know that we were all taught that merely tapping your feet in rhythm to instruments could possibly lead to full-scale orgies. I can assure you that did not happen. We all danced with the “ones what brung us,” on up until midnight. It left me wondering what all the fuss was about.
10. I’ve discovered that it really is okay to leave behind the familiar and step out on faith. Life is a mystery and an adventure. I stand amazed.
Those are my blessings for 2010, and not necessarily in that order.