“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity….it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” —-Melody Beattie
When older people are asked what they want for a gift, they often reply “nothing” or “I have everything that I need”. Younger gift-givers may be frustrated at that response. The fact is that with age, indeed we may have all that we really need but, also, with time comes a gratitude for what we do have. We realize that people have become more important that things, cherished memories more important than money, and the beauty of the world, more precious than diamonds. An eye-roll may occur from a young person when Mom, Dad or a grandparent may tell them that all is needed is to know that they are safe, or happy, or kind, or that they remember God in their lives. No watch, necktie or bottle of perfume can replace that.
You realize that a spouse, child or best friend can never be replaced or bought. Having someone to experience special, or even mundane, moments with is really what makes life meaningful and fun. Sharing a laugh, a secret or special occasion with that person is the icing on the cake. Occasionally you will find yourself just looking at that person with appreciation and admiration. Sharing a heartbreak, tragedy or injustice with that person can deepen that relationship even further. That’s when you feel their devotion and loyalty. Deep down inside you know that your days together are limited, at least on this earth, so if you are wise, you cherish each one.
With age, comes the gratitude, not of the glitz and glitter of the holidays, although it’s still fun, but of other’s faces and their reactions. The enjoyment as young ones are excitedly waiting in anticipation for their own new memories and happy moments. The wonderful times with family all crammed in the same house together in a loud and happy exchange. The ooohs and ahhs as the holiday dinner is placed on the table because no one can cook like Mom or Grandma. The joking and teasing with Grandpa. The traditions that are built together that make your family special.
All around us we can find things to be thankful for. A rainbow or mountain scene cause us to slow down and just stare and try to take it all in. What can equal an amazing sunset or sunrise? We may try to take a picture of any of these spectacles, but we can rarely capture the majesty and awe in these moments. We might even feel that these beautiful moments that we occasionally witness, are made just for us by a loving God.
As we contemplate the day to day comforts and conveniences that many of us enjoy, we also become aware that not all people have access to these blessings. A bathroom, running water, 3 meals a day and a full pantry, things like several jackets to choose from or shoes that fit. A group of people to call family and knowing you can count on them. Of course, the list could go on and on and when we recognize this, is when we want to share. We share almost apologetically in gratitude. Our time, our love, and our material things.
No matter our age, we are infants in our understanding and are blessed to have a patient and kind God in Heaven who wants us to learn to be grateful and to share with others all year long. The more we are grateful, the more blessings we will become aware of. I realize there are exceptions, but for many of us, no matter how lacking our lives may seem, they would be a dream come true, for others.