This past year has been a strange one, a tumultuous year for many friends and loved ones, myself included. I had not intended to write this post at the beginning of the month, but then something strange happened.
I took a shower.
No, that’s not the strange part.
The strange part happened during it. My muse opened the door and stepped in. He’s done this before, but not in a while. I should have known. He tends to show up when I least expect him. On this particular visit, we had a long conversation. It started off as more of a monologue on my part. I rhymed off all the things I had to do, my gift list, my dinner list, this list and that list. The lists went on and on, and somewhere between the shampoo and body scrub, he reminded me to clean out my ears because I wasn’t listening to him.
He’s kind of pushy that way, but I complied, and that’s when he said I needed to blog about gratitude.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes in the frenzy of “doing,” I tend to forget just “being.” When I cannot take the time to reflect, then it’s difficult to be grateful.
Another year was coming to an end. It deserved its own time apart from all the things that still had to be done.
A time-out was important.
He was right.
* * *
2013 went by in a flash, and the years have gone by quicker as I’ve gotten older. When the end of the year approaches, it speeds up, almost as if we want this one to be over with, so we can start anew. In an effort to let a difficult year slip into oblivion, I thought the best thing was to not even write about it, but of course, I could not. Life, like my muse, always shows up on its own schedule—at an inconvenient time. I didn’t feel like writing this. I had a million other things to do. Yet here I am.
So … gratitude.
Around this time of year, the question does not tend to be: “What are you grateful for?”
For Canadians, that was back in October. Americans had their Thanksgiving less than a month ago.
No, this holiday demands to know: “What do you want?”
Everywhere I turn, I see the lure of things that people want.
For me, there’s little I want that is material in nature.
Stay with me … this is going off on a tangent but I’ll circle back. I promise.
* * *
I visited the John Lennon exhibit in New York City several years ago at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Annex, which no longer exists. The exhibit consisted of all things Lennon that one would expect—music, memorabilia, pictures, albums. I’m a big fan of John Lennon, but I don’t remember anything specific from that show, except for one thing—a crumpled brown paper bag.
The exhibit was marked: “Patient’s Belongings,” and it contained all of John Lennon’s belongings after he was killed, his body processed, and his clothing removed by the coroner.
That image has stayed with me, and I saw the exhibit four years ago. For me, it was a metaphor for life, no matter who we are. Though Lennon lives on through his music, he left this world as we will all leave it, with nothing of value we can take with us.
For many of us, who we touch, love, spend time with, and share of ourselves will be our lasting legacy.
With a circle of friends that extends out from a small family, I consider the readers and writers whom I’ve connected with over the past several years as important in my life.
This season, I will spend time thinking of you and how you have enriched my life, how material goods will never replace what you mean to me. Even the occasional email you send my way is worth more than any diamond, which to me is worthless, so don’t send me one.
In this fast world where we are sometimes overburdened with too many tasks and too little time, I never want to be someone who doesn’t take the time for those I love most. That includes the readers of my blog and books.
In the end, none of us will be defined by the ‘stuff’ we have, but by the kindness we’ve shown, the love we’ve shared, and more than anything, by the gratitude we’ve shown others.
Wishing all love, warmth, health, and happiness,
~ eden ♥