As the sun rose on the snow-covered hills of my hometown, I took in the distant view of downtown and a feeling of satisfaction rose in me.
On a sunny Sunday morning on the cusp of the Winter Solstice, I was standing outside the church where my father was eulogized, where I am fortunate to attend services with my mother, and where I am a small part of an incredible worship team. In every way, I am home.
It has been a long journey back to where I started, from the long-gone innocence of youth, to the hubris of young adulthood, and through the folly of a topsy-turvy chapter of mid-life “crisis” that has provided great growth.
It is called many different things by writers, philosophers, religious leaders, and pop culture commentators but it’s all about an awakening – an attitude of gratitude. For most of us, it is something we learn to appreciate only after living our lives unaware. It comes to us in different ways.
A few of us are able to learn early on what a gift our rich lives are to us. Even then, we still manage to squander moments on social media, TV, and video games. At a recent safety training at my university, our chief of police said our greatest challenge is staying connected with each other. We are in a world where we can see, hear and experience a variety of states, real or imagined. Our unprecedented access to powerful, immersive technology has created a tuned-out generation. It isn’t about Gen X, Y or Z, but all of us.
As this year comes to a close and I remind myself of how lucky I am to have an overflow of blessings in my life, I also am challenging myself to grow in 2015. We need to move beyond ourselves and our selfish needs if we are to fully complete our personal journeys in life.
We have many resources at our disposal to get all the guidance we need. Recently, I have been fortunate to have friends connect me with powerful, inspiring works. Yet I am most grateful for the generous listening and guidance of a network of close, trusted fellow travelers on the path to discovery.
This season of life is one centered on a sense of enduring gratitude for me, balanced with the realization that there will still be many challenges ahead. Yet, as the sun rises and begins to set, I’ve found that I’m usually given all the provisions needed to weather the storms en route to my destination.
As we close out one calendar year and start another, my New Year’s resolution is to be a trustworthy friend, family member, and co-worker. I will pick up the phone and call someone I care about or ask them to coffee to see how they are doing. There are so many good-hearted people struggling with big issues and all that many of them need is a kind soul to listen and assure them. Peace.