Gratitude and the Gifts of Aging

I write today (Monday, November 12) knowing that next week we will be called to offer thanks for that which we are grateful in our lives, our country, and our world. It occurs to me that I may have never considered just how powerful the word ‘gratitude’ is. It really does seem, though, that I experience gratitude with more regularity these days.

Within our church family, a significant number of us have shopped for food for those who might not have the means to provide a Thanksgiving meal for their families. This is something that my husband and I always do together. We shop carefully to make sure that we are following the instructions and selecting the correct sizes of items for the families who will receive our gifts. This Thanksgiving practice serves to remind us of our neighbors and friends who are in need. The real challenge, however, is in living each day of the year with the same level of mindfulness.

I have noticed that, as I am aging, I am more aware of the blessings in my life. I can look back and perceive the passage of time. I can also see many times when I failed to live in the moment, and in so doing, I missed the most valuable opportunities for sharing God’s blessings with others. Now that I am older, I do not want to miss a single moment. It is my goal to be present in each moment. Note that I did not name or qualify the moments into categories of ‘good’ or ‘bad’. I now see that every moment offers blessings. Even within the most difficult circumstances I have encountered, I have ultimately been able to identify the inherent blessings.

I have learned that each season of life offers grace and blessing. I live my life today with more purpose and with great anticipation. I am confident that each day is worth my participation. Each person I encounter is worth my time, energy and full attention.

Gratitude for today, hope for tomorrow, and a life of shared purpose. These, it seems, are the unexpected and sparkling gifts of aging!

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