For This I am Grateful …

In this life, in this world, it is all too easy to be grateful for the good things, the obvious things. It is also too easy to take for granted all the blessings and feel that even with all you have it is not enough, because someone else seems to have so much more. We get caught up in the game of comparison, or in surface appearances, and fail to look beyond to see what is really happening and what is really there—emotionally.

Today I am truly grateful for all the good things and the bad that have happened in my life. They have brought me to where I am today. I am grateful for all the people who have passed into and out of my life … no matter how long or short their stay. I am grateful for each person, no matter how much joy or sorrow brought to me, no matter how well or poorly they have treated me, and no matter the scars or the triumphs of those days.

Lessons of Moments and Memories of People

What have I learned from those who have come and gone? I have learned that having an open heart means that you may get hurt, but the open heart and life is richer for the pain that may come, for the joy is also there. It doesn’t matter that those you love may leave you. It matters only that you love. It doesn’t matter that they do not open up to you and share as much as you do, or that they give unequally or not at all. It doesn’t matter that they may leave you to pursue other dreams or that they are selfish or unaware. It matters only that you are willing to love, share, and live … to give of yourself and take the chance. For in life, it is the journey and the risk that makes the living possible and the loving worthwhile. In loving there is reward, in the letting go there is the realization that love for love’s sake is not love wasted, but love grown beyond what we have previously known.

Love is never wasted. It doesn’t mean that we sacrifice ourselves for love or that we accept abusive or otherwise damaging relationships. It does mean that we can love people for who they are and accept they will never be who or what we need them to be in our lives and let them go. We do not need to hold on to them or to “if only.” We love and treasure the moments they were in our lives and move on.

Letting people into our lives is one of the most important lessons any of us can learn. If we are afraid to let people close or expend energy on relationships, then we lose out all the way around. It is inevitable that we will be hurt by those we encounter—the closer they get, the more power they have to hurt us. It is also true that the closer they get the more joy they can bring, if only for certain moments in our lives, before they are gone. In quiet moments we may be left only with memories of certain people. We may wonder where they’ve gone and why we lost touch. But if that memory brings a smile or a laugh, a quiet sigh, or a warm feeling about what used to be, then that person brought a richness to your life that lasted beyond the moment when your lives touched.

Every Day a Moment—Life Touches

There isn’t a day that goes by that our lives aren’t intertwined with other lives. Sometimes it’s a superficial moment passing on the highway. Sometimes it’s a glance across a crowded room. Sometimes it’s a voice on the other end of the phone—even a wrong number. Sometimes it’s the sound of children’s laughter on a summer afternoon wafting through an open window, or a train whistle blowing in the stillness of the night. Touches of life across time and miles … lives passing and connecting … making changes we don’t even know about … rippling and making impacts that we will never know.

Today life has been changed, in good ways and bad. People I’ve met all along the way have made today what it is. For this I am grateful. For today is what will make tomorrow, and tomorrow is about potential. Tomorrow is hope. Tomorrow is what we will make it. The people we meet, the things we do, the lives created, the lives that end: Everything that happens is for a reason. The reason may not be known today. It may not be clear. For all things there is a time. There is a purpose. For this I am grateful.

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