It’s not that I’m not a generally happy person or that I have a hard time being thankful.
It’s just that in the “busy-ness” of each day, the craziness of life, I know I’ve missed so many of the little joys that come my way, hundreds of times a day. ‘Routine’ all too easily can steal countless small and simple pleasures of daily living.
2014 was a challenging year to say the least. Truthfully, it’s been a tough couple of years for my wife and me. Jobs coming and going, having to move twice in the last two years, and my wife’s health (three surgeries in the last three years). – Let’s stop there and move on.
I’ve had enough change, of a dispiriting sort, to last me for some time to come.
I don’t really do ‘Resolutions,’ New Years or otherwise, but that doesn’t mean I don’t regularly set goals and make plans. Learning, growing, developing talents and potential, looking to enhance the quality of life for myself, my family, and in some simple way, most anyone I meet – they’ve pretty much always been a part of my life.
This past season of gift giving again emphasized it for me. I want to have a greater awareness of how fortunate I am, the ‘gifts’ I’ve received. In spite of the challenges of the last few years, and especially the last year, I am very fortunate. For a year or two now I have been determined to find more peace and joy amidst the struggles that my wife and I, and all of us at one time or another often face.
I could make a long list of things to be thankful for – the basics; family and friends, born and raised in Southern California (some may say that’s a negative, but I’m looking at it in opposition to being born in a third world country where each day’s main goal is trying to find enough food or even clean water to survive until the next day).
Working on having (for lack of a better way to express it) an attitude of gratitude has been my focus.
Ingratitude will eat you up inside. Bitterness can be at the root of many a sickness. Even though these last couple of years for me have had their fill of difficulties, through it all, it’s been a time of reflection on what’s important.
There are so many little ‘gifts’ that come my way every day. There really is a lot to be grateful for and I’m still so often unaware of these blessings.
Another cliché, stop and smell the roses, really sums it up for me. Each day I start with a prayer of thankfulness. Then from that first moment and throughout the day I’ve been trying to develop a habit of being grateful for all things large and small.
When it rains, I’m grateful for the cleansing, nourishing water. When the sun is shining, I’m grateful for the warmth I feel on my face. One month ago, my wife went through a marathon 13 hour surgery. Her recovery is slow, but each day, often many times a day, I am thankful for small improvements in her recovery.
When I hear a song I love on the radio, when I get three green lights in a row as I travel down a road, when I read an encouraging story on a blog I follow – I’m getting better at enjoying the moment, but it takes a lot of effort to learn to live in the present, and then making a conscious acknowledgement that in that moment I am fortunate and blessed.
So, Gratitude, for: A New Year, A New Day, A New Moment – this is my maxim, my hope, my daily resolution.
Be blessed today and every day this year!
“Being and appearing grateful – For this one virtue is not only the greatest, but is also the parent of all the other virtues”