Glad to Be Here

The story as I recall it was this: It was one of his early radio shows. They were on the road somewhere, and the back of the stage was reached through a narrow hallway. He thought to make an energetic entrance, so he ran through the hallway but, where it opened to the stage, the ceiling was low (he is 6'4") and his grand entrance leap turned into a crash as he clobbered his head.
 He got up from the floor, made it to the microphone, and the first words out of his mouth were: “Happy to be here.” (Later he wrote a book with that title.)
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 Some time ago I was on the staff of a large church. Whenever I rang the rector’s long-term secretary he invariably answered the phone with “Father Austin, what a pleasure!” I learned to say the pleasure was all mine, and it was at least a smile-bringing pleasure to hear his voice. I once teased him and said he couldn’t really mean it since he said the same thing to everybody, and with upright seriousness he corrected me. “I never say it to —” and he named someone I forget. But for those who heard it, what pleasure.
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 It’s 6 a.m. and my host was in the kitchen with his very energetic dog. I remarked that she was showing remarkable energy for it being so early. He replied that she was a very theological dog! She was saying, “This is the day which the Lord hath made: we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
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 The first moral task is to give thanks for who we are and where we are and what we are, to give thanks that we have the life that we have. After we give thanks, we may go on to ask for what we need but don’t have. We may also laugh at our embarrassments and repent of our sins. But thanks is the first thing.
 My morning barista asks me how I’m doing. “Glad to be here,” I say, and it’s true, whether it’s cold or hot, wet or dry; whether my feet hurt or not; whatever my unmet deadlines; and whatever foolish or wicked things I may have done—it’s a pleasure. This day, and not some other day, is the day which the Lord hath made.
 I’m glad to be here.
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 Out & About. I am to preach at the traditional services (7:30, 9, and 11:15 a.m.) at Church of the Incarnation in Dallas this Sunday, December 2.

 

The Rev. Canon Dr. Victor Lee Austin is the Theologian-in-Residence for the diocese and is the author of several books including, "Losing Susan: Brain Disease, the Priest's Wife, and the God who Gives and Takes Away."