Saturday, December 22, 2012

An Inventory of Blessings

The year should not end without a thorough inventory. New Year’s Resolutions should not be entertained until such a process can be completed.  I am referring to an inventory of blessing.  How have you been blessed this year? How has your life been enriched and fortified? Have you taken careful inventory?

This year has not been easy by any stretch of the imagination for me. I watched two of my friends from childhood suffer from cancer and ultimately pass from this life in April and June.  They were both 49 years old.  But I was blessed to spend time with both of them prior to their deaths even though they live almost 1,000 miles from my home. Those brief moments were rich and unforgettable.

And then in July, my longtime mentor, professor, and friend also passed from this life after dealing with cancer.  I recall sitting in his office exactly one year ago. It was then that he told me that he was “not going to get better.”  It was hard. But I got to lecture to the students enrolled in the final class he taught in a short course format in May.  What a blessing. It was an unforgettable week.

Despite all of the sadness this year I have been incredibly fortunate.  Opportunities to spend time with longtime friends abounded this year.  Over and over I was given the privilege of deepening relationships with people that I have known most of my life. But I was also fortunate enough to get to know friends that I have known for a relatively short period of time much better.  In terms of friendship it has been an unforgettable year.

My boys have grown and matured this year. Randall is an independent adult making his way in the world in such an exemplary manner. Daniel continues to pursue his undergraduate degree.  And Mitchell got his learner’s permit to drive this year. They are all growing.  Watching my boys experience such significant life milestones is truly unforgettable.

This summer Jan traveled with me to the city where I went to elementary school and one year of junior high.  It was where I called home as a child. It was where I met and formed friendships with the above mentioned childhood friends.  She was able to see the old stomping grounds for the first time. She saw Ray’s house and Steve’s house. There was something profoundly sacred about that experience.  It was an unforgettable vacation.

Has it been a painful year?  Oh yes…no doubt.  But have I been blessed on the journey with incredibly great people? No doubt.  I have been so fortunate that it is taking several days to complete an inventory of gratitude.  I am willing to invest in that inventory, because I don’t want to forget the people and the moments that made life rich and rewarding this year.  They should be unforgettable.  

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