Heartfelt Gratitude

Yesterday my fifth and youngest child graduated from high school. How is it that we wake up one day and somehow thousands of days have passed?

We all come into this world with our journeys ahead of us – some easier, some harder. My daughter entered the world over 2 months early weighing 4 lbs. Her biological mom had left her Russian village at age 18 to find better fortune in Moscow. A few years later, Nikki was conceived. At Nikki’s birth, her mom was quite sick from all the things that can happen to impoverished young women navigating unknown big cities.

On this graduation day, my feeling of gratitude begins with her and goes to all the other young women who leave home to seek a better path only to find a harsher world than they imagined. As I sit in my cozy bed writing this, I think of their courage and their strength. May I always remember the gift of grace and good fortune that has helped me not be in such circumstances. And may I always remember the responsibility to help others that comes with this gift.

Nikki’s journey hasn’t been easy. To her feistiness, her resilience, her energy, her twinkle and her courage – I give such thanks. She has taught me more about the bond of unconditional love than I could have ever imagined.

I also give thanks to the incredible village of friends, family, teachers and counselors who have been with us on this journey with their wisdom, kindness, patience, support and most of all, love. I well up with tears in awe for all you have so generously and selflessly given.

And I ponder, what would the world be like if we released our desire to look for blame, judge or harbor anger because life didn’t give us what we expected? What would it be like if we all breathed in the energy of powerful gratitude for our biggest challenges and growth opportunities?

And what would it feel like to see, remember and acknowledge all those who helped us along the way? And lastly, what would it feel like to be grateful for the connections we all share, looking to build bridges across our humanness, not hierarchies based on tribes?

Such are the things I ponder on this day of emotion and gratitude, on this day that surpassed 100,000 lives lost to covid-19. May we give thanks to all those who are part of our human village fighting this virus and working to protect us as we begin to go back into the world.

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