The Gift of Appreciation

a-christmas-gift in public domain

“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.” 
~Madeleine L’Engle

2012 has been rough for many of us including myself. This past year has hurt me in so many ways. I feel it has been the worst year of all my forty-three. I’ve been battered and bruised and my ego has surely taken a hit.  2012 had me on the ropes and seemingly down for the count more times than I’d like to remember but I keep getting up and that is the important thing…and I’ve grown immensely; in confidence, character and compassion.

This past year has certainly been a lean year as I’m sure it has been for many people but as awful as this year has been it has given me a gift that a million good years could never grant me; the gift of appreciation.

Previously in my life like so many others, I measured success in dollars and although I have never been rich I have generally been comfortable; enough to have a secure roof over my head and more than enough food to eat with a little left over for small indulgences such as trips to Starbucks, dinners out a couple of times a week and frivolous clothes shopping excursions every once in a while. No matter how much I had, I found myself wanting more. It seemed in my warped frame of mind that there was always something I seemed to lack compared to other people around me who always seemed to have more. It was as if I never measured up and that was a refection on me as a person.

I would go to the mall and pass by “Joe Brown’s Caramel Corn”, a long-time popular fixture there. I would smell the caramelly goodness and lament that I couldn’t afford a treat.  The place was always busy at the time and it seemed to me I was the only one who had to pass it up and I felt bad.

This past year has wiped out any non-necessary spending at all including my sale hunting shopping trips to the mall…but as it has a tendency to do: life goes on and I couldn’t just sit at home anymore and feel sorry for myself. I returned to the mall and passed by Joe Brown’s but I had been altered somehow.  I smelled the heavenly scent emitting from that popular spot but instead of feeling bad because I couldn’t partake in some caramel corn I felt grateful to be able to appreciate the yummy smell. I walked around and people-watched and just took it all in and for really no reason at all I felt elated!
And then it hit me… I was enjoying myself and I didn’t need a dime to do it. I discovered what I had been missing all along: a sense of appreciation just to be alive. This was a feeling that perhaps I never truly had before. It is easy to pay lip service and say you appreciate the small things but to really and truly feel it is quite another thing.

It is a gift that hardship has given me. I have my health and most importantly a family that loves me and that is so much more important than anything!  In that I am rich and no matter what the future may bring, I will always carry that around in my heart.

strawberry-heart in public domain

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year full of LOVE and togetherness with family and friends.

Nancy (Strawberryindigo.)

Cloud with silver lining

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49 thoughts on “The Gift of Appreciation

  1. Well spoken . . . but I still wish you some measure of prosperity in 2013 . . . especially now that it can be appreciated a bit more.

    I never forgot where I came from, and knowing just how little I actually need, does make me very appreciative of what I have.

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  2. Dear Nancy,
    I have treasured your friendship throughout what was a very hard year for both of us. As for me I can’t wait to see it end. I freely admit I’m praying 2013 will be a better year than the last for everyone, not just me. Very best wishes for success in all you put your mind and heart into to in 2013.
    With much love,
    TiTi

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    • TiTi: Thanks for your thoughtful words, I appreciate your visits and kindness.
      Oh what a year it has been. I’ve never welcomed a new year so much, but I have a feeling that 2013 will be an improvement for us all. My thoughts are with you and all my best to you and yours in the coming year.

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  3. Nancy, despite the year’s challenges, you shine through your writing and photos ever more brightly. This year sounds like your “rock tumbler year” where all the rough and dull outer covering is polished away so that your hidden beauty shines where all can see. Happy New Year! Janet

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  4. Nancy, thank you for sharing your heart. My struggles have to do with health more than finances, but can result in the same frustrations. I am housebound too often and have found my world shrinking but then I think of all the wonderful people I’ve met (such as you!) through the internet, and I see that God is actually expanding my world.

    Happy new year to you and yours! May 2013 be a true blessing to you! (BTW, I love your name … one of my sisters has that name too!)

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    • Hello Anna: It is so nice to hear from you. Despite it’s shortcomings I think The Internet is a blessing as it can bring people together from all over the world–such as we two. Thank you for your thoughtful words.
      My best wishes to you in the coming year. I hope your health burdens ease. Your postivity shines through and that is also a blessing. 😀

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    • Hey Spiritual: Growing hurts but the results are well worth it! Thanks for the encouragement…what a nice person you are! Love and Peace to you as well…2013 is going to be a fantastic year—I can just feel it! 😀

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  5. I am glad you were able to take something positive from the beating 2012 has given you. I hope that 2013 offers you many an adventure and many a smile.

    p.s. We both share the same first name. 😉

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    • Hey Shoes: Glad to know we share the same name…very cool! 😀
      2013 is gonna’ rock—I can feel it and I am looking forward to getting the current one behind us…Here’s hoping everything is OK on your end my fiend.

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  6. In spite of the bad moments, it sounds like 2012 brought you the best gift of all. As you noted, without appreciation nothing is ever good enough. L’Engle is one of my favorite authors… love that quote. It’s so true.

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  7. My 40s started with giving birth to my youngest son and less than 2 years later we plunged into the depth with my husband receiving a death sentence with the diagnosis of a brain tumor. Instead of the 3-5 years we were told were the timeline, he lived almost 10, dying 1 day after our son;s 11th birthday. That walk through the misery of watching someone I love slowly disappear taught me to count my blessings, to massage the hell out of celebrations and to realize that the passage is part of the process of living. So far, almost done with my 50s, things are “better” than my 40s so my wish for you is to find your pathway through this hard time and you will find the next chapter will be easier.

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    • Thank you Wildtramp: My condolences at the loss of your husband. Death is a part of life and you are wise to note that. I don’t have to tell you that your husband lives on in your son. I really appreciate your meaningful and thoughtful comments… please keep in touch.

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  8. I so much hope that 2013 will be a year full of wonderful surprises and lots of happy moments – for you and your family too. I think many people go through bad times – and no matter how secure I may feel right now, I know from experience that I can be happy with much less. Good luck! 😀

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