appreciating what we have

Sometimes the very thing you’re looking for

Is the one thing you can’t see

These are words from the song, Save The Best For Last, sung by Vanessa Williams.


flowers at parents house 3



Happiness and moments of joy are not really dependent upon external, material circumstances.  Yes, suffering makes it difficult to be happy. Hardship keeps us from being carefree.  There is no denying that.  Yet, one can still smile, laugh and experience moments of joy despite ongoing suffering, pain, and trials.

To be sure, we are put through much that is difficult in living in this world. Sure, some suffering is necessary as there are times when we stubborn human beings can only learn our lessons “the hard way”.  As well, we cause ourselves much pain through our bad choices and self-destructive actions.  Yet, much pain, sorrow, and frustration comes our way which we did nothing to cause. (I will never be among those who choose to glorify suffering as I still choose to believe that we were created for a higher purpose, and do not see the value in suffering for suffering’s sake.)

There is value (for lack of a better word at this moment) in simplicity and in appreciating what you have right now.  Be sure to appreciate your family, friends and loved ones.  If you are in good health, do not take it for granted but appreciate your health each and every day.  No one is guaranteed good health for their entire life.  As well, give thanks after you count your blessings.

Appreciate the present moment.  The past has its regrets, its missed opportunities, its terrible mistakes, etc.  The future, unknown as it is, presents its uncertainties to us and we choose to worry and fret and be anxious about it.

Now.  Today, make a conscious effort to see some good, something positive in your life.  We can only live in the present.  Thus, we can make the effort to be fully present, so to speak, in the present.  Live in the present, but not necessarily solely for the present.  Learn from the past, plan for the future, but remember to live in the present.

Looking back, there were times on the evening commute home from work on public transit when there would be delays.  Trains or buses would be delayed or would break down delaying us commuters from getting home.  Needless to say, this is frustrating when one wants to get home to start their evening. Amidst this frustration and the uncertainty of when the train or bus would start moving again or would arrive for boarding, one could still look out and see the sun setting in the distance and enjoy the sunset, or see birds flying in the sky.  Do not overlook the simple sources of momentary joy.

When looking for a reason to soldier on in this life, one can consider that he or she may be able to help many others in small ways over the years.  You may make a very big difference in a positive way in someone’s life years from now. That someone you have not yet met and do not now know.

So what? – you may say.

But wait.  Life is full of very quirky circumstances and situations.  (Your own life experiences confirm this.)  If you are not there at that point in the future when you may save a life, or make a substantive difference in a person’s life or in the direction of that person’s life, there may be no one else there to help.

There is a purpose in (and for) our lives – even if the organized religions and modern psychology and philosophy fall short of giving us very good answers.

And, as for meaning in our lives?

Come what may, it is better to love, to care, to try to help others.  You see, the purpose and the meaning in and for our lives are intertwined.  Love is both the purpose and the meaning.  Love is both the journey and the destination.

Perhaps, we ought to appreciate that we have the capacity to love, and make the conscious effort to nurture and give expression to that capacity.

As we started this essay with song lyrics, let us end with other song lyrics.

 Don’t give up

You’ve got a reason to live

Can’t forget

We only get what we give

From the song, You Get What You Give, by New Radicals.

The flowers in the above image were photographed last Spring in the front yard of my aged parents’ home.

copyright 2015 –

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