Gratitude is one of the things that I am ending this year within my heart. The gratitude has other companions there, including joy at all that this community has accomplished this year and sorrow at the divisions that remain among us as we end this year.
The gratitude is there, gratitude for all the people who give so much to make this place what it is. Many continue to serve even though they didn’t like everything that was happening in the community. So many people give so much to make the community that we create together happen.\
I am also grateful for those who were willing to take the risks of truth-telling and of learning this year. So many of us were raised in cultures that equate conflict with danger so this is no small gift and I’m very grateful for those who are willing to give it. Each person who is taking the time to tell their truth, especially as an actual exploration of their feelings and concerns have allowed me a window into perspectives I otherwise would have no way of knowing. And those perspectives have changed my work and ministry this year.
I am grateful for those who were willing to engage in the difficult work of looking at what is and after learning that these times require reading and learning.
I know that I am taking on and wrestling with new ideas at a faster pace than I ever have before because that is what it seems these times require. I don’t always find it fun, in fact, this year it’s felt as if I rarely do but I know it is part of the commitments that we make to one another.
So grateful to all of you who have given, who have spoken the truth of how you are feeling in these times as an invitation to conversation and to have trusted to step into that faithful journey who is next destination may be just out of sight around the next corner.
In faith, Leslie
Rev. Leslie Takahashi serves as the Lead Minister of the Congregation. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.