A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog titled, This Day, about my realization that what I am most thankful for is just being alive to enjoy the current day. Last week, my husband and I went for a run on a local lakeside trail. As we approached the trailhead, an elderly man hobbled toward us, using trekking poles to balance his slow, labored steps. As we approached, I looked at his face and said, “Good morning!” His skin was loose and wrinkled, his eyes sunken, but at the sound of my voice, he looked up and responded, “Well, good day to you!” As we advanced along the trail, I began to wonder if our trail was the destination for one of the local senior centers’ field trips – the trail was heavily populated by people who would be offered the senior discount without having to be asked if they qualified. And each and every one of them approached us with eyes twinkling, faces smiling as they heartily wished us, “Good morning!” or, “Lovely day today!” My favorite was the gentleman who actually thrust out his hand, pointing his finger at us and enthusiastically cheered, “Now you have a good day today!”
I’m used to passing runners and walkers on trails and, while most respond to my “Good morning,” with a nod, a smile or their own quiet, “Good morning,” this group of seniors was different. Their “Good mornings” weren’t just a rote response to my wish. They seemed to be having a genuinely good morning and their comments came across as heartfelt wishes that I, too, would enjoy the kind of good morning they were experiencing. It occurred to me that being out on the trail, whether walking at a brisk clip or hobbling along with trekking poles, these people seemed to relish the fact that the sun was shining, they were outside, they were being physically active and they had been given the gift of this day.
I guess if we’re here, we’ve all been given the gift – the question is, do we recognize what we’ve been given?