Why not start your own book of daily gifts?

It’s been almost a year now since I started My Book of Daily Gifts.
To begin with, I found a handy reporter’s notebook in the stationery cupboard and requisitioned it. Four inches by eight inches in size, the pad is perfect for keeping on my desktop.
I start every new day by entering the date, and as the day progresses, jot down, one by one, the wonderful gifts that come to me. You’d be surprised how different life looks when you view it with grateful eyes.
Take the gifts that came today for example. A letter from close friends, telling of their plans to retire and move out of the city into a new home in the shadow of the Canadian Rockies. A 12-page handwritten document detailing family history from my uncle in Ohio.
Help with dusting down the living room cobwebs from a family member who didn’t need to do it.
My Social Security cheque. A calendar and a wonderful note from my college professor whom I met for the first time in 50 years at a speakers’ table in Pennsylvania last fall. Flowers for my desk.
Maybe the gifts were especially wonderful today but I don’t think so.
I started My Book of Daily Gifts a year ago, and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to look back over the treasures. A yellowed newspaper clipping from a friend in Ohio, saved from the days when we served together in a migrant camp in central New York. An invitation to a wonderful party. A call from my cousin on the east coast. An early morning walk with friends.
A powerful new computer. Of course, I had to pay money for it, but still it’s a marvelous gift in my day-to-day life.
And even more wonderful, a king-sized hand-crafted desk for last Christmas. A desk that fits under the picture window, and lets me look at the trees and birds and clouds every working minute.
A gas company employee who responded to an emergency call and found a gas leak that could have been serious. A flicker, a cardinal, and a house finch all splashing in the bird bath at the same time.
There’s so much negative in life. Health concerns. Bills to pay. Floods on the west coast, and winter storms in Europe. Hostages and violence. Negative people who make you respond in kind.
And with all that negative energy around, it takes concentrated effort to find the positives–to recognize the gifts of life.
Nearly a half century ago, in December of 1513, an Italian monk named Fra Giovanni wrote a letter to one of his wealthy parishioners about the wonderful gifts of life–and the danger of missing them.
“Life is so generous a giver,” wrote Giovanni, “but we, judging its gifts by the covering, cast them away as ugly, or heavy, or hard.”
What you have to do is look at things in a new way; and then, says Giovanni, you will find that “life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty–beneath its covering.”
That’s the challenge of living–to recognize and celebrate the wonderful gifts that come into your life. Why not start today by creating your own Book of Daily Gifts?

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