What Matters Most?

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”- Elizabeth Kübler-Ross

“The best things in life are the people you love, the places you’ve seen, and the memories you’ve made along the way.” -Tab D’Biassi Photographer, Lessons Learned in Life

As the year draws to a close, and we celebrate the things we’re grateful for, and the abundant gifts we’ve been given, I wanted to write something pertaining to the season.

On Black Thursday/Friday fights broke out over sale items and videos of these fights were posted on YouTube and social media sights for all to see. Hum…

I’ve been thinking about that a great deal in the last few days.

Many of the spiritual teachers I read say that we learn by observing contrasts. In other words, we see or experience something we don’t like or want and that helps us define what we do want. Here are some contrasts to think about.

We live in the richest country on earth, but we have the highest prison population in the world, and a growing working poor population. The rich get richer and the poor, poorer and the middle class dwindles. That’s quite a contrast. So, what can we observe and learn from that?

I can’t tell you what you should get from that, that’s your job. This is what I’m learning about that.

First, we live in an abundant universe with plenty of things, money and beauty to go around.

A few months ago, I took a writing workshop on observation. You can’t be a good writer if you’re not observant of all that’s going on around you. The instructor related two stories of friends and family coming to visit him here in the Arizona desert. They remarked at how barren it is. Not saying much, he took them outside and pointed out things for them to observe. Here’s what he was trying to get them to see. Most people think the desert is desolate. It’s not. Embedded in the ground are rocks of every color. The desert teems with wildlife. You just have to stand still and look. For example, my husband and I found fuzzy red bugs in our front yard one fall shortly after we bought our house in the country. We’d never seen anything like them. The desert supports all kinds of plant and animal life. We’ve seen deer, rabbits, roadrunners, lizards, javelina, coyotes, snakes, countless varieties of birds, bear, bobcats, mountain lion and many other insects and animals since moving here.

Then there’s the sky, which was another thing the instructor pointed out to his friends. Every morning and evening at sunrise and sunset the sky turns the most magnificent colors. On the opposite horizon from the sun, the sky turns lavender. And the light creeps from the east to the north and south so we’re surrounded on three sides by glorious colors. The night sky is even more spectacular. The first time I saw the Arizona sky at night, I was moved to tears. So many stars cover the sky that it looks like someone dumped diamonds onto a black quilt. Having come from Portland, Oregon where the sky is cloudy most of the time, I was enthralled.

All it takes is a few moments to stop and appreciate the beauty wherever you live and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

The universe is abundant in lots of other ways as well. We just need to appreciate it and allow it to flow to us.

Second, the true gifts we give have nothing to do with how much money we’ve spent on the gift.

I’m not saying it’s not nice to get and give expensive gifts. That’s wonderful. What I’m saying is that the best gifts are given and received when thoughtfulness and love accompany them. And often the best gifts don’t cost a thing. Things like spending loving time with family. That takes so many forms. For example, on Thanksgiving Barry and I drove over to my cousin’s house for dinner and we met the newest member of our family. We’ll remember holding her and looking into her eyes and playing with her older sister as long as we live. It was a wonderful day. We enjoyed the company of our extended family and their friends. Nothing can replace good memories.

Third, hold onto and appreciate the things that matter most. Is that going to be the TV you bought on sale on Thanksgiving day, or during Cyber Week? As my dad used to say, “In a hundred years who’s going to remember?” However, in a hundred years people will look back on this time and remember us. They’ll analyze what we learned and if we made the world a better place in which to live.

What matters most to you and how can you celebrate that?

© Lucinda Sage-Midgorden

Published by lucindasagemidgorden

I grew up in the West, the descendant of people traveling by wagon train to a new life. Some of their determination and wanderlust became a part of me. I imagine them sitting around the campfire telling stories, which is why I became first a theatre artist, then a teacher and now a writer. They are all ways of telling stories.

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