I hope you can take the few minutes it will take to read this. And if you know someone who might not see it otherwise, I ask that you pass it along to them. Thank you.
If I’m not mistaken, Thomas Merton has been quoted as saying, “Looking back on your life—you couldn’t have planned it if you tried.” It is in the spirit of that comment that I celebrated the 40th anniversary of my first day on the radio here in the Hudson Valley.
My stated and sincere desire for this past Friday’s get-together at McDonald’s was for it to be an occasion for me to thank at least some of you in person for what all of you have enabled me to do here in the Hudson Valley over these past many years, and for all you’ve helped me “become.” Especially after the events and countless interactions that filled last Friday, for which I can never convey adequate appreciation to all the persons involved, I decided I would write this open letter to all of you. I know it’s long, but I hope you will have the time and interest to indulge me.
Since my first day in the Hudson Valley you have honored me with your continued attention. It has given me a happy and fulfilling career. I enjoy it even more today than when I first began. That alone would be reason enough for gratitude. But there is something bigger, much better.
I meet so many people doing what I do. Some of you I’ve known for almost my entire career. Some of you I’ve only just met. Through these countless small relationships (and some not so small), at the level of person to person, whether I met you at an event or you called or visited the Morning Show, I have been privileged to witness the most incredible capacities for love, kindness, generosity, sacrifice, dedicated faithfulness, resiliency and perseverance, sometimes amid very challenging circumstances. I’ve also seen humility, joy, good humor, a huge capacity for fun and lightheartedness, sometimes downright silliness. It’s been grand.
The circle of your care often extends far beyond the boundaries of yourselves and your families to include the needs and concerns of your communities and the world itself. You bring an incredible amount of compassion and reasoned action to bear on issues that involve all of us in the great interweaving of our lives here on earth. Some of you work quietly and unobserved behind the scenes of your lives, some of you are very front-line, but all of you navigate life with courage and fortitude. None of us is perfect—I’m not saying that—but marvelously, perfection is entirely irrelevant. I’ve witnessed Goodness. Over and over and over again. Even someone as thick as I could not help but be instructed and inspired. And so I was. And am.
It has been what you have given to me that I have in a small way tried to return to you. I am happy to say that it seems you have felt my deep respect, care and admiration. My greatest pleasure is to make you smile or laugh and also to help you feel accompanied, not just by me and Michelle, but by each other.
What I take with me from this point on is not just many treasured relationships, but the capacity to see relationships everywhere. That enlivens this crossroads in my life with the most exhilarating sense of hope and potential—NOT for the accumulation of more memories to become dusty relics in my attic and mind—but with the strong impulse to bring whatever capacities I have to every encounter life brings me from here on out. I look forward to the future, not with any sense of diminishment or sadness over the time left (I am 65 after all, so the thought occurs), but with the hope, faith and vitality that finds time a useless reference point and hoping and praying (literally) that I be able to continue to touch and be touched by all the miraculous lives with whom it will be my great grace and privilege to encounter.
So, to each of you, and to the great Benevolence that holds all of us, I say a most earnest and sincere THANK YOU.