Every September our church holds something called the "Water Ceremony". This is a service in which people bring a small vial of water actually or symbolically from locations they’ve visited over the summer months. It’s a great way to kick off a new school/church year by hearing short stories about where people have been. About six years ago, I actually delivered the homily myself, and had a blast. I never would have imagined that I was going to find myself at a pulpit, and put together something that incorporated material from E.B. White’s Here is New York (a great book about a great city).
I chose to attend this morning because in addition to having a highly interesting journey this summer, I also wanted to thank the many people who gave generously of their time to watch over me in the hospital, or cook meals for my family. As I’ve mentioned before, this included many people offering kind and loving support.
So, this morning after the homily, I got up to tell me tale and give big thanks. The minister invited me to go first (a definite honor). The congregation greeted me warmly with an ovation, because I believe many of them wondered whether they’d ever see me walk the earth again. My parents joined me at the front as well.
I started out by saying we’d begun the summer in Birch Island Lake Wisconsin, visiting my wife’s family. and telling everyone what a lovely time we’d had.
Then – about a week after returning, the bike accident happened. I told them how much I appreciated the loving support, and how they’ve helped me to view the experience as one I’ll view as positive over the long term (true statement). And that the second measure of water came from Harborview and Overlake Hospitals, and that they should consider it water of thanks.
I’m omitting the spots where I choked up and had to pause, but otherwise I’m conveying how I felt it happened.
After the service I hung out for a long time to deliver in-person thank-yous, and talk with people. All in all it was a great time reconnecting with folks.