Archive for Monday, December 16, 2013

Happiness is the greatest gift of all

December 16, 2013

Whenever a family member asks me what I would like for Christmas, I usually answer “nothing,” because I have everything I need. I have a loving family and good friends.

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy opening gifts with the family on Christmas Eve. Yet the best gift for me is to have the family together. It isn’t as thrilling as when the children and later the grandchildren were little. There was so much excitement as they opened a gift box that contained a toy that they “had to have.” However, it is still a time of joy and fun. A wonderful and now extended family is the greatest possible gift.

Yes, I would like to walk without a cane and to spring up and down stairs the way that I did before I had a stroke. Yet the greatest gift is that I can walk and drive. I can read, write and still make speeches. Yes, surviving is a tremendous gift.

I go to my grandchildren’s sporting events and other activities, and I have relatives who make sure that I am there. As far as I’m concerned it is a gift when someone holds the door open for me or others that have physical challenges. That one simple act means a lot, and it tells me that there are a lot of concerned and kind people in the world.

There are, however, some gifts I wish I could give others. I would give them the gift of service to the community. There is nothing that is as much fun as volunteering your time to help with worthwhile activities. In our modern world there are countless opportunities to serve and help make the community a happier place. Actually, getting involved is a gift that anyone can do and I assure you that you will be the winner. Not only are you helping others, you are meeting people and making friends. Community involvement is a great gift that is available to everyone.

I would like to give the world the gift of enthusiasm; sadly, many seem to be lacking a zest for life. I am very lucky because I was in an exciting profession that I loved: journalism. Yes, it was a 70-hour week, but I never thought of it as work, as it was something I wanted to do. Even at my advanced age, I am enthusiastic about the future. I look forward to sports season, spring and summer yard work and the challenges that come with aging. Yes, there are aches and pains, but I am glad to be alive and accept them.

If there is one thing that our country needs, it would be the gift of optimism. We need to look forward to our bright future and not back to the fantasy of the “good old days.” If you really study history, you’ll find that national challenges are nothing new. We have a much easier life that those who lived 200 or 100 years ago. We need to stop listening to those who become wealthy by peddling doom and gloom. Be optimistic — our best days are ahead of us.

I would urge everyone to give as well as receive this year. There are so many worthwhile causes that alleviate suffering throughout our cities, state and nation. In many ways, the greatest gift you can receive is to give to others.

I enjoy Christmas with the lights and music. But what I enjoy most is that I have the greatest gift of all: happiness. Take a few minutes during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to reflect on the wonders of your life.

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