During an era when trust eludes us, when weather threatens us, when countries terrorize us, and when elected officials leave us gasping, why would any of us feel gratitude?
For the last six weeks, I’ve been dealing with a cerebrospinal fluid leak requiring a lot of bed rest. I know the ceiling of my bedroom very well now. I can tell you exactly where there’s been a bump or a misplaced stroke of a paintbrush. But, I can also tell you, that as I drifted between worlds, material and otherworldly, I saw that consciousness is distinct from the body. As much as our body defines us, it is not who we are.
One day when lying flat on my back counting the ceiling tiles, the book John W. Howell and I have co-authored came to mind. The Contract will be published in early summer, and as the title suggests, it involves a contract. In my supine position, I realized that just as the characters had a contract, so did I. And, because of my circumstances, I was provided the opportunity to imagine what my life contract might be.
I walked through the decades looking at what I had learned. Through sorrow came joy, through deprivation came generosity, through fear came hope. I realized the gift of life’s unique challenges, the gift of my CSF leak, for I understood how each hurdle brought me to a place of vulnerability, close to my heart.
We see differently when life brings us to our heart.
During this season of hope, I am grateful to be alive. There is much yet to see and to experience, and there is so much I still need to do, books to write, grandchildren to hug, friends to embrace. The world needs my loving, your loving, our loving. But, loving requires us to be close to our heart.
I might be a dreamer, but I can't help but wonder, if we could fast from negativity and re-frame our lives to ones of grateful living, wouldn't hearts soften and wouldn't dreams come alive?
I have been on quite a journey this year. I suspect you have as well. It's been one of those years that will claim its mark in history. But, thinking through the months, I've realized that there has been one constant - you. Thank you for accompanying me this year. You are family and from you, I have learned so much.
I have two wishes: that 2018 will surprise us with laughter and each of us will remember or find hopeful maybes.