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Attaining a sense of abundance

Published January 11. 2014 09:00AM

Finding the right greeting card for someone special is hard.

Have you noticed how today's cards never seem to say what we want to express?

When I buy a card for a loved one, I spend an inordinate amount of time rejecting the wording of card after card until I find some thing suitable. Sometimes, I have to settle for one that doesn't quite work. Call it the best of the worst. It's especially frustrating when trying to find a perfect anniversary card for my husband. I'll tell you this: whoever writes those cards doesn't seem to have high regard for marriage. I reject card after card that say things like, "Although we have our differences."

I want a card that celebrates what makes someone special, not one that has even the slightest negative tone.

Who writes those cards? I can't tell you how many times I wish I worked for Hallmark so I could do better.

My friend Fran has a solution to the card dilemma. She makes her own, using photographs she took and writing her own message. That's probably more meaningful anyway you look at it. And at the price of cards, it saves her a lot of money.

Last week I was excited when I finally found the perfect anniversary card for David. The picture on the card signified dancing through life. That's exactly what David and I are doing both literally and figuratively.

Here's one part of what the card said:

"Life only flies if we let it get away without savoring every moment.

But if we take our chance to slow down and let ourselves feel deep gratitude for every single day it all adds up to a sense of abundance."

Those words resonate with me because it's something I've believed all my life.

Here's what I strongly believe:

If we could have but one thing, picking between monetary riches or a true sense of gratitude, I would take gratitude any day.

I have seen people who appear to have everything at least when it comes to monetary things. But they are not happy. All I hear from them are complaints and comments about how rotten things are.

On the other hand, I know beautiful people who have very little yet they can't get finished proclaiming how grateful they are for what they have.

I'm sure you know people like that, too. And I'm sure they are people you like to be around because those with a keen sense of appreciation are a pleasure.

I have one young friend whose husband was killed tragically when their son was just a toddler. She struggles with two part-time jobs to get by but her dazzling smile seldom leaves her face. Even as troubles mount, she gives voice to how grateful she is for her life.

For instance, she and her son were just in an auto accident when a truck smashed into their car and demolished it. The insurance company balked at giving her a rental car and she had to ride her bike to work, even when it rained.

Instead of railing about the injustice of it all, Becky can't stop talking about how grateful she is for the guardian angel that kept them from serious injury.

I recently interviewed a 93-year-old man who said he is grateful for every single day of life, both the "good days" and "bad days."

"Even a so-called bad day has good things in it," he says, "but people seem to overlook all the little pleasures of life. They spend too much time talking about their problems and not enough time appreciating the gift of life."

No wonder I love being around him. Although his family lives far away he isn't lonely because people flock to see him. I know that's because they are drawn to his happy disposition and lively conversation.

My 93-year-old friend says he was happy when he was young and he's happy now that he's old. He makes no bones about why he's happy: "I'm grateful for the abundance of life," he says.

When I asked him to clarify his version of abundance, he didn't mention his stock portfolio or his sweet little house on the water.

His version of abundance, he says, is going for a walk in the sunshine and stopping to talk with friendly neighbors. Having people care about him is another important part of his abundance.

My life, too, is one of abundance, and I never stop saying thank you for it.

I'm thankful for the times when I can get on my bike and ride. I'm thankful for the birds that come to serenade me while I sit on my lanai.

I'm grateful for true friends that enrich my life, for times I share the laughter of friends and for times when I sit quietly looking at the beautiful world we have been given.

One of the things I love best about David is that he, too, is grateful for every small thing in life. Often, when we are driving in a car, he will pull over to exclaim over the magnificent sunset.

When you acquire a true appreciation for all of life's small pleasures, you are filled with a sense of abundance.

That, of course, is exactly what the anniversary card said.

At rare times we can find a card that states our exact sentiments.

Here's wishing you a keen sense of abundance throughout the New Year.

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