“Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.”
I can’t complain. These past few weeks have given me many moments to be thankful for the life I live. Last week I visited my family in the UK – and was able to soak in the beauty of wild wild Wales, the mysterious mountains, the verdant fields dotted with sheep, the rugged shoreline. I drank coffee in a converted chapel, beer in an ancient pub, and tea with my mother. The week began with a celebration of life, a significant surprise birthday party, a family gathering that produced many memorable moments and much laughter.
This week saw the appearance of my first published book in print. On Wednesday I got word that my first volume of Friday Morning Messages was up on Amazon. The fact that this happened is purely serendipitous, and thanks to Facebook. Yes I know some people will never go on Facebook. Yes I know there is a lot of negativity and trash talk on Facebook. Yes I know that it has changed the way we live our lives (will this go viral?). For me Facebook has provided exposure for many of the Clarendon College Alumni events, and spread word farther and faster than any ad or word of mouth.
But it has also brought chance encounters. Someone reached out to me after reading a few of my FMMs, and we started a conversation, an exchange of poems (hers) and encouragement. Through this tentative online friendship I learned of her friend, a writer and publisher who had facilitated the publication of a volume of her poems. I contacted him, and that led to this week. In my mind there was very little that needed to be done to my collection. Until another friend suggested that I try to group my messages into themes, rather than just gathering them in chronological order, January through June, or some such. So that meant sifting through, identifying themes, trying to make sure they were not repetitive.
I am extremely grateful for these chance encounters, and the advice and support of all of my friends and family, that brought me to this moment. Were it not for social media, for the instant feedback provided by those who read my weekly postings on facebook, or my blog on wordpress.com, I would not have had the courage to continue and ultimately publish a book. I give you thanks.
Which leads me to today, the first day of a long weekend of Clarendon College family fundraising and fun. Another reason to be appreciative of the love, support and friendship of so many people. Thanks to all of you who show up or send your support, we are able to send scholarships to students who, without our help, would struggle and falter in their quest for education.
This morning’s message is brief; as you may imagine this upcoming weekend, will be hectic. And since I was on vacation last week, I have had to work all of this week, so between jet lag and work, I am not exactly well rested for the inevitable party till you drop events!
Despite that, I am remembering the words of my father: in everything you do, give thanks. I give thanks for the opportunities to give thanks. I give thanks to everyone whose life has touched mine, and hope that in return, I have touched yours in a positive way. Life is not always what we had hoped, but it can always be what we make it, an occasion for joy, for celebration, for appreciation.
To those who plan to party with the South Florida crew, catch you later at Waterfalls Restaurant and Lounge, see you in your finest tomorrow at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott in Coral Springs, or see you in the park on Sunday. And please remember we will be at Central Broward Regional Park this year, so don’t go looking for us in CB Smith.
One Love, party people! One Love!