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Squeezing the stuffings out of our blessings!




MARK PAVILONS

We've been encouraged to “count our blessings” each and every day.
I don't think it's a matter of counting them. They're not currency. Unlike our medieval ancestors, who carried their life's wealth around in a drawstring pouch, we carry ours deep inside.
But like a financial institution, our blessings can bear interest, or at least fruit.
But Eric Hoffer once said that the hardest arithmetic to master “is that which enables us to count our blessings.”
My friends, our blessings are as unique as we are. They border on the heavenly, and could be considered tiny miracles all on their own.
It's a shame we humans have to live our lives forward, when the best lessons, and pearls of wisdom, come in our later stages. Oh, those pearls, those perfectly shaped pseudo-gems, come with years of learning, knowing, experiencing. They come with joy, and pain.
The late, great Lawrence Welk pointed out he improved with age, and marvelled at his blessings.
Is a “blessing” a gift, or a token of luck and good fortune? Is it tangible? Or is it a feeling, a form of gratitude?
While we associate blessing with religion, and consecration, it's much more than that. Merriam-Webster defines it as “a thing conducive to happiness or welfare.”
Oh, happiness, that elusive, almost indescribable commodity.
A few years ago, I emailed as many people as I could – friends and acquaintances – and asked them how they define happiness.
While the responses were varied, there was a common thread. And that was being blessed with family.
And, as much as parents complain and nag their kids, some say “parent” is the best title in the world. And being able to have parents to call “mom” and “dad” is equally wonderful. For those who've lost theirs, and have a few empty seats this holiday season, my thoughts are with you.
Others say life is not a series of coincidences, accidents and missteps, but rather a long lineup of blessings. These are given to us to learn from so we can become better versions of ourselves.
Heck, I ought to be damn near perfect by now!
Perhaps blessings are directly linked to being grateful. Is it merely “showing an appreciation for something,” or is it much, much more?
Just what does it mean to be thankful?
We should all be over the moon every morning we get out of bed to live another day. We should be indebted to whatever forces make the world spin and create a planet bursting with life and wonder. We must be obliged to a higher power.
Maybe the English language, despite its cornucopia of roughly 600,000 words, doesn't have one that perfectly suits this. Besides, while the average person may know 40,000 words, we only use about half that, or 20,000.
So, it's safe to say we're at a loss to fully explain and grasp our own blessings and gratitudes.
Where does that leave us?
Well, we tell our kids to be thankful for the “little things” in their lives. But food, shelter, family, friends and maybe the family pet aren't little at all, are they?
Those who are fortunate to be connected with an animal know this to be a truly amazing experience. It can't be fully explained, either and often breaks all the rules. We just know. And we just love every minute of it.
Some of us may not appreciate the time, energy, money and yes TLC that goes into every family dinner. And yet, we'd miss them terribly if they no longer took place.
To me, as I crest the ripe, old age of 60, I find my focus, and my blessings, taking wonderfully retro shapes and forms.
While dearly departed for some time, I can still clearly picture my mom's smile, and hear my uncle's loud belly laughs. I smile to myself when recall particularly serene moments from my childhood in rural Caledon.
I've been able to chalk up 59 fairly decent years on this planet. Okay, maybe I've had more downs than ups, and Lady Luck avoided me more often than not.
But blessings? I'm sure I've had plenty.
A lot of us Boomers say were we “lucky” growing up, but it wasn't luck at all. It was those aforementioned blessings – a stable, supportive family, simple pleasures and low stress levels. We also tended to have conservative, realistic expectations. Perhaps we were lucky that we were not part of the “me generation.”
Again, hindsight is 20:20. I now know that physical and mental health are way more important that any job, or material possession.
I realize, after years of ignorance, that just taking in a deep breath and looking at clouds or stars, can't be matched.
I've been able to see countless wonders on this Earth, and in my loved ones' eyes.
That's pretty damn good.
And I now cherish almost everything, because I know that it can all be gone in an instant. We can get broad-sided when we least expect it, and have to carry on like nothing is weighing us down like an anchor around our necks.
And maybe knowing these things makes me more grateful. Wait, is that it? Attaining a certain amount of wisdom and gratitude IS our blessing?
It can't be that simple, can it?
To all those lucky enough to be reading this column, please accept all my heart-felt blessings throughout the holiday season and through 2023!

 

 

Excerpt: We’ve been encouraged to “count our blessings” each and every day. I don’t think it’s a matter of counting them. They’re not currency. Unlike our medieval ancestors, who carried their life’s wealth around in a drawstring pouch, we carry ours deep inside. But like a financial institution, our blessings can bear interest, or at least fruit.


Post date: 2022-12-21 15:09:06
Post date GMT: 2022-12-21 20:09:06
Post modified date: 2022-12-21 15:09:08
Post modified date GMT: 2022-12-21 20:09:08

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