Our firstborn took Joel and I out to breakfast this morning and we took a walk while we waited for a table to be available. I thought the reflections through the mist were especially beautiful and somehow, they seemed a prompt to do some reflection in turn.

My loved ones were kind enough to humor me as our conversation over breakfast and all the way back home circled around that general theme. I loved hearing their responses and sharing my own. The last thing we talked about was experiences from any time in our past that we’re especially grateful to have had.

In closing out the year, I thought I’d narrow that focus a bit to just this year. Of course, I can only share my thoughts – not anyone else’s – in a public setting like this. So looking back at 2022, I’m grateful for:

  • Mutually supportive friendships through life’s ups and downs
  • One relationship in particular that’s mended and deepened
  • Getting better at recognizing and accepting what I can’t control
  • Finding solutions that have worked and felt sustainable to solve some of the problems that have dogged me for years
  • Getting a little better at extending myself some grace when I bobble other things over and over again (some I’ll probably be able to find solutions for in time; others will probably continue to serve as invitations for grace – and boy, am I glad to be able to say honestly that that’s okay)
  • Starting to recognize a lot earlier what I’m really looking for when I have the urge to eat when I’m not really hungry or to buy what I don’t actually need – and getting quicker at taking actions that actually do meet the underlying need at hand
  • Time spent with my parents (some day I won’t be able to just pick up the phone or drive a few minutes and visit them)
  • Cozy moments with a stripey, purring cat on my lap and a good book or a funny TV show to enjoy (all these years later, The Office still makes me laugh)
  • A roof over my head, a full pantry, a reliable car, clothes that flatter and give me all the dressing options I need and want

Isn’t it interesting that most of these are about connection and relationships (whether with myself or with others) and only one is about material stuff? Not to say the physical isn’t important (it sure would be if you lacked it and the means to acquire it!)…but at the same time, it only takes you so far.

In a nutshell, I guess what I’m most grateful for is time and the opportunities that’s allowed me to love, learn, fall down, get up, brush myself off, be less guarded and more open, make mistakes, have successes, gain, lose, and generally grow. It’s a gift. It’s a blessing… and one I’m so very grateful to receive.