Today. This very day. Right here. Right now. I didn’t do anything to deserve it, but it was given to me for free. If the only thing I do today is develop my sense of gratitude for all this day has to offer me, then my day will be well spent.
I have often asked my students what would they do if they knew this was the last day of their lives? I often wonder myself, what if this was the first and the last day of my life? What would I do differently? Would I take more time to look around me and enjoy the beauty that surrounds me every moment of that day? Would I relish in the beauty of the ordinary as if it was the most extraordinary thing I have ever seen? Would I take the time to really look at those passing me by on the street instead of rushing by them with my head down? What if I had the time to listen to their unique story and appreciate the journey on which their lives have taken them? Would I take the time to look at the sky and be in awe of the fact that those clouds will never be in the same formation again? Would I stare in wonder at the multitude of stars and the glow of the moon?
I celebrated the life of an extraordinary man yesterday as family and friends gathered to send him off to his final resting place. Funerals always remind me of my own mortality and force me to think about how I am living my own life. Do I take the time to appreciate the simple things in my life? Do I tell the people in my life how grateful I am for their presence and their influence? Do I open my heart to all that this world has to offer me?
Today I went for a walk with a friend in a local park. We admired the last of the colorful leaves on the trees. We laid in a field and stared up at the sky, watching the few clouds that were present float by. We listened intently to each other as we shared stories of the good and the bad. We felt the wind on our faces and the warmth of the sun on our backs. For a few hours we were fully present to each other and to our surroundings.
I am grateful for today. I am grateful for every day I am given. But today I am grateful that I took the time to be present to what was right in front of me. I was able to open my heart and be thankful for my many blessings. If this were to be my first day and my last day on earth, I can only hope that those who encountered my presence today could feel that gratitude and open their hearts as well.