Recently, I have been giving a great deal of thought to the things for which I am most grateful. This deeply introspective period has been brought on by a lengthy sickness. I had the flu and was not quite over that when I caught a super cold virus. In the middle somewhere, I ended up in the ER because I’d had stroke symptoms, which turned out to be a complicated migraine, mimicking stroke symptoms.
You know what? I’m thankful for every bit of all that! Why? Because it allowed me the opportunity to become deeply introspective, to think about the things that were important to me and to spend time appreciating them.
My thoughts began with family. Not just my immediate family with whom I interact daily and weekly, who support me and love me through things like this illness, but those folks who are dear to me, living hundreds of miles away. I thought of my dear Aunt in Uncle in New York who have always loved me and supported me. I thought of my my many cousins throughout the U.S. who have come together in a network that provides love and support, prayers and goodwill for one another no matter the circumstances, no matter the distance. I thought of my Uncle and Aunt in California, who I recently reconnected with when my mother passed last July, but have always been there, just the same.
I realized that these relationships, although very different from one another and as individual as the people themselves, offer one common commodity; love and support. It is mutual, it is strong and it is essential.
It continued as I began to encompass friends and acquaintances in my scope of thought. There are close friends, those who share your secrets, your dreams and your pain. Often, these gems are few and far between and tend to change as we grow and move and advance in life. I thought not only of the special few who hold that place with me now, but of those who have been there for me in that role over the years. I found that no matter what it was that altered the dynamic of our friendship, I was still grateful for their presence in my life. I am lucky to currently have two or three women with whom I can confide and draw strength in tough times, share joy in good times and I hope they feel the same.
My vast network of “friends” through social networking is no less important to me than my vested friendships. Many of my contacts are fellow writers and artists who offer insight, bolster esteem, give constructive criticism, lend an ear and provide laughter. These contacts extend around the globe. And I find that I am equally thankful for their e-presence in my daily life.
What it all boils down to in life is relationship. Relationships are valuable. They are essential. They are the foundation upon which we learn and grow from childhood, through adulthood and into our twilight years. Be thankful for your relationships. Don’t be afraid to grow more of them. And most importantly, invest yourself in them. Give of yourself. It is only when we give of ourselves that we can truly receive the best that others have to offer.
And finally, dear readers, I am thankful for each and every one of you. I would not write, if there were no readers.
by Lynn Radford
photo by Lynn Radford