As I was digging through the soil, I thought of something I'd read long ago: Anything of value multiplies when it's given. I admit to testing this philosophy over the years and have found it to be surprisingly accurate. Giving can create much happiness for the giver as well as the receiver.
Whatever the gift, it is the emotion and thought of the giver that sets its true value. When thinking back on important gifts I've received in my own life I find them to be too numerous to count. Yet, there are a few that stand out from the rest.
My first great gift in life came from my mother. Besides the obvious gift of life, of which she played a key role, my mother bestowed upon me an avid love of learning. She tutored me in my first struggles with phonics and was a wise, gentle guide who unlocked the door of my young mind and allowed me access to that secret world of reading... and all the joys and benefits that grace those who wander through it. My favorite books from childhood (many of them classics she once recommended) continue to be my friends and counselors. I find it ironic that these books have offered me much needed advice during the years after my mother became too ill to guide or counsel me. This gift continues to increase the quality of my life as well as enrich my soul.
I suppose it's no surprise then that the second great gift of my life came much later, from my father. My mother's illness (Multiple Sclerosis) had progressed to the point where she became unable to care for herself in any way. Her doctors recommended that she be permanently admitted into a convalescent facility. My father adamantly refused their strong suggestions and he was unwavering in his answer. "If I were in that wheelchair she would be taking care of me...and doing a better job of it than I am." He would quietly explain. That was in 1976. For thirty years (until October 2006 when she passed away) he cared for her at home and we visited often. Although she could no longer speak she was vividly aware of our presence. We know this by the way she greeted us. Her eyes sparkled... her arms feebly reached out to each of us for an embrace as her lips silently mouthed the words "I love you". My father would look on and then tell us later how much healthier she seemed when we were there. Who could ignore the valuable gift found in his example of loyalty, love and unselfishness?
Now that it's a new year, like most of us, I've made a few resolutions. Among them... at the top of my list... is the decision to make a conscious effort to maintain my focus on the many gifts I've been given... tangible as well as intangible. No more focusing on what I don't have. Instead, I plan to put the art of appreciation into high gear and look for the good gifts that are present in all things and experiences.
Wishing you and yours a blessed 2013 brimming with tangible and intangible gifts !
Sending love and good thoughts to all.
Tracey and Family