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AppreciationMarch 7, 2014
Today is my birthday. I decided to ask in prayer what I could give to the Beloved this year and did a Virtues Pick. What came was Appreciation. What resonated for me was to fully and wholeheartedly accept and value my life as it unfolds each day, to be grateful for the flow of blessings, to choose not to dwell on the unpleasant things of life. I ask God what I can give, and I am invited to receive.
For a lifelong task master, list maker, guilt aficionado, one of the great challenges of life as a retiree is to relax and breathe, knowing time as a luxury rather than a pressure. I am in awe of the vastness of a sea of beauty, adrift in the uncharted waters of choices, like wavelets washing up on the beach. Choosing how to spend my time and my energy, which no longer comes in limitless adrenaline-driven gusts but gentle as a breath of wind, is an unfamiliar opportunity.
Orderliness calls to me strongly. I need it. My soul requires it. It is what gives me peace, particularly as we have been moving from place to place, like the hermit crabs on the beach seeking a good fit. We seem to have found our shell. A small beach house, full of island beauty in the ti-vai-vais – hand-sewn fabric flowers in brilliant hues of pink and green in frames of woven flax and adorning pillows everywhere. Mama, the 86 year old land-owner of this place, made them all.
Appreciation calls me to be present in each moment, to be as flexible as a tender herb bending in a gentle breeze of Grace. This morning, a visitor arrived on our deck, whom we had met years before. A lovely Cook Islands man volunteering from island to island to help other recovering alcoholics and helping to build a new mental health centre. I had just finished my morning chores – taking scraps to the pig bucket, cleaning the sinks, putting away the dishes, making the bed, and had also had had my prayer time earlier. I was all set to write this blog. And he arrived.
When he left, after sharing one of the most beautiful prayers I have ever heard, I said to Dan. "I was going to work, but this seemed more important". "This is your work," he said, giving me a long hug. Appreciating what comes means I am not in control, I am in the flow. There are no distractions, only opportunities.
Our friend's prayer, which he recited from the Baha'i Writings, includes the line, "My God, permit me to be entirely Thine." It seems that this unexpected gift, this sweet surprise, is the path – the gift to appreciate today.