My mother turns 79 today. What a beautiful and loving guide she has been in my life. In fact my mother is one of life’s gentle souls that brings peace into the lives she touches. She’s a worrier. There is enough concern in my mother to care for all life’s unfortunate. And there’s always room for one more. Happy Birthday Mom. I love you.
My mother and I share many things in common. One of my favorite is our membership in AA. That may strike some as a strange thing to be grateful for, but it’s been a well of strength and wisdom for us both over the past decade. Amongst the many things it taught me, none has served me better in life than the serenity prayer.
What is it about gratitude that puts so much joy into our lives?
Is it the fact that our world is so full of good things and good people that we often take them for granted?
Is it because it reminds us of what’s important? It’s difficult to feel angry or frustrated when you think of your children, your parents and loved ones who are healthy and alive.
Is it because every challenge is an opportunity seen in a different light? Can losing a stretch of games alter the fact that I am blessed to work with vibrant young athletes in a sport I love? And this in a time when many are out of work. Should I choose to focus on the problems and obstacles facing our program right now? Or perhaps I am grateful for the challenge? Life is much more interesting and motivating when we face challenges isn’t it?
No matter where we stand; no matter the struggles we all face on a daily basis or the setbacks we experience – the simple act of being grateful makes a huge difference in our lives. I’ve discovered that it’s virtually impossible not to feel blessed, not to smile or sense happiness when I’m thanking those who touch my life every day.
“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”
So this morning as I sit with my coffee and gaze out to the river that wends idly by my door, I am thinking of my mother, my beautiful wife and partner, our healthy and spirited children, of my brother and sister, of my amazing in laws who make being in our lives a priority, of my fascinating players who never cease to inspire and reward me with their wit, humor, resilience and determination, of my amazing coaching staff and their families, of my Dartmouth friends and their unwavering support throughout my life, of my former coaches who to this day remain a source of strength and inspiration, of my neighbours and their generosity, of the teachers who so inspire and care for our daughter, of my two labs who have never had a bad day and love me regardless of my shortcomings………………
The holidays are a time of reconnection for all of us. There’s the stress of getting everything ready, the travel and arrangements that have to be made. If you are like my wonderful wife….and my mother for that matter… you’re feeling the strain of getting everything ‘right’.
Take a deep breath, step back and remember…it’s right whether you get to everything on that list or not. Grab a cup of coffee this morning and count a few blessings. Call a few people you’ve been meaning to thank. Go out of your way to do something special for someone that makes you’re life so much brighter and full.
Above all, tell yourself, for this I am grateful.