The Greatest Gift

What are your three wishes?

“If you had three wishes for anything in the world what would you wish for?” The eight year old looked at me with a puzzled look. “Take time to think,” I told him. His gaze drifted to the ceiling and his breathing slowed. His eyes lowered and met mine. “I want my dad to be okay,” he answered.  “Where is he?” I asked. “Away in the army,” he answered. There was something about his determined look that prevented me from turning away. “You love him very much, don’t you?”  He nodded and his eyes shimmered without tears. “Mom told me he will be coming home soon,” he replied. “You and your dad are my heroes,” I said to him. “I am so proud of you.” The boy nodded and wiped his cheek.

The gleaming eyes of children taught me the gift of gratitude is the greatest gift one person can give to another. I saw how a kind word, a pat on the back, a push on a swing or a bounce of a ball made gratitude visible. Young children do not hide gratitude. They hug, they smile, and they sing to us. They wear it loose and visible like a scarf and often leave it behind without regret. We as adults are the ones who forget to show gratitude for what we have and for what we are given by others as gratitude, our greatest gift, is replaced by material acts of giving.
Gratitude empowers and refreshes all who experience it. It comes from the heart and freely given, enriches everyone. It awakens joy, breeds satisfaction and inspires giving. Gratitude built upon humility, acceptance and trust is the ultimate gift. It helps us to understand, accept and love others.

During the coming holiday season make gratitude your greatest gift. Give it to others freely. Don’t hide it. Display it proudly and watch how others become inspired. Show your gratitude for having the opportunity to wake another morning, take another step, and sing another song or blow out another candle. Make every day a new day, a new chance and a new opportunity. Show gratitude for the love of others near and far. Give thanks for what you have already received. Hear the music. Feel the vibration. Reach out to another and dance. Allow gratitude to become your greatest gift.

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