“Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don’t unravel.” ~Unknown
The other night I flew home to Massachusetts, after visiting just a couple months back to spend time with my sick grandmother.
Since she was released from the hospital in February, she’s been staying with my parents, which means I’ll have plenty of opportunities to simply be with her during this trip—not for lunch or a specific activity, but simply to share space.
Though I enjoy seeing her because I love her, I also appreciate how being in her company reminds me of what matters in life.
As I write this, she’s sitting in a reclining chair in the living room, exuding a calming sense of ease. She’s long-widowed and slowly recovering from her recent virus. But she’s well-loved, frequently visited by children and grandchildren who respect and admire her, and despite the challenges of aging, she seems content and at peace.
This is the image I’ve decided to carry with me through my days, whether I’m 30 feet, 300 blocks, or 3,000 miles from that chair: my 82-year old grandmother, who likely no longer remembers petty worries from when she was my age. Who simply appreciates this moment, her health, and time with the people she loves.
So often in life we lose perspective, and get bogged down by all the little challenges that can seem huge and overwhelming when we’re knee-deep in them.
We hold onto gripes that we’d be better off releasing. We get outraged over annoyances that won’t matter in the grand scheme of things. If we’re not careful, we can turn life into a never-ending chain of problems to be solved—ever-fixating on external causes, looking for someone and something to blame.
It’s easy to get caught up in this cycle. We live in an imperfect world, and things aren’t always just. If we’re looking for them, we will always find things to complain and stress about.
But regardless of how much we worry in this moment, we will all age. We will all experience loss. And we will all come to understand more fully how valuable one moment can be when we choose to embrace and appreciate it.
It needn’t be at the end of our lives. At any time, we can sit back, take a deep breath, and bathe ourselves in silent appreciation. We are here, and we are loved.
Photo by Paulo Fassina