Saturday, December 22, 2007

thankfulness, Ray style

Seeing as though it's the second holiest part of the year (if you disagree and think it tops Pascha, then read some Behr/Hopko and try a 40 day fast) i've gotten to thinking about a couple of things I'm uniquely thankful for God bringing into my life these past few months:

1. i'm thankful for the thousand-acres of woodland near Mountainburg. It gives me a place to be free, to hunt, to hang with the boys (wes, Nate H, Jay, Dan, Shoji, Andy, Evan). I forgot how much I love this state until I got back into the wilderness. I thank god also for the other wonderful features of my home that I so often overlook: the trees, the playful squirrels, the many animals for me to hunt, all the little landmarks of Fulmer history, the smell and stillness of autumn and the pleasant bite of winter.

2. I'm thankful for my sisters and their friends. They've re-humanized me and grounded me back on terra firma after years of relative isolation in an academic bubble.

3. Also to my first classes of students for sticking with me as I figured out how to teach, especially for a few: Greg, Lizzie, Karen, Sheila, Matt, Cherish, Jamie, Shelby, Lindsey, Kenzie, Linh, John, Jimmy, Neal, Jojo, Zack, Jennifer, Katie, Shaundreika, D-Chap, Tara, Lukerts, Josh, Kelsey, and all the others I'm forgetting, for seeing me as a person who was teaching them, rather than just 'the prof' or 'the young guy'.

4. For Shoji, because there's nothing cooler than the couple of weeks we spent together, watching Tokyo meet the Mulberry; you were born part-Ainu, but I hope that your heart left part-Cherokee. Aboriginese unite!

5. For Wes and vong, because they've been the best old school friends around, and I couldn't ask for better.

6. For Farrah, for showing me how to love, forgive, and what those words look like enfleshed. It's odd watching someone take a little bit of advice from you, only to exceed you in spirit and wisdom, in such a short period of time.

7. For Barry, Tim and Shosh, for a variety of reasons, but particularly for their ability to keep it smart yet fun.

8. For Krish, Nate H, and Rob Avery, for pondering religion with love and opposition (and BW of course!) After all guys, sometimes gentiles do instinctively what the law commands, and show that although they do not know God, the Law of God is etched upon their hearts. (romans 1)

9. Nate Preston, for telling me that we should not trust anybody who doesn't read fiction, and thus reminding me that I needed become once again become trustworthy, and for just being my conscience when I became judgemental, narratival, and my usual self-important. Also, for smashing my idols faster than I can build them.

10. For the Garklavas', for owning.

11. For my mentors Fr. Tarazi, Fr Behr, Dr. Bouteneff, Dr. Cornell, Dr. Kiriopoulos, Dr. Barnet, Fr. Hopko, and posthumously Fr. Alexander Schmemann. Whatever spiritual advice I possess is merely standing on the shoulders of giants. Anything I accomplish for God's kingdom is merely a footnote to the musings of greater minds.

12. For my Vlad's homies - too many to name, but you know who you are - for showing me that the gwaace of the holy spiiiwit... really can fill all that is lacking to an open heart.

13. For my blood-brothers: Dooba, Wes, Paul, Webb, and Andy.

14. For my parents, because without everything they have given me, the rest of this list would be irrelevant.


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