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Your Morning Cup of Inspiration

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“Do not indulge in dreams of having what you have not, but reckon up the chief of the blessings you do possess, and then thankfully remember how you would crave for them if they were not yours.” – Marcus Aurelius

The Aurelius quote is a challenge for each of us to understand how truly blessed we are. It is easy to identify what is imperfect in our lives.  And it is natural to want to improve our circumstances.  But in the pursuit of improvement, we can fail to appreciate what we already have.

That is why it is useful to take up Aurelius’ challenge to consider what we would crave if it was gone. For instance, your house may not be perfect, but how would you feel if you didn’t have it at all?  Your child may give you a headache from time to time, but how would you feel if you never saw that child again?

Another way to look at it is this: Visualize yourself in an empty room.  You have nothing and no one.  Who would you yearn to see again?  Who would you want back in your life?  Many of our relationships are obligatory.  In my own life, I deal with some people out of obligation, and then there are others who I truly want to spend time with.  When you ask yourself “Who would I yearn to see again?” your answer tells you which people you really want in your life, versus those who are superfluous.

The same holds true for our possessions. Which of your possessions would you crave to have again?  Many of us amass possessions for quantity.  We have more clothes than we can possibly wear.  We have more dishes and pots and pans than we can regularly use.  And we don’t love most of what we have.  But if we consider which possessions we would want to have back (if we could only have some of them) that gives clarity as to what we really need and value.

When we think about all the people and things that we would crave if they were gone, we realize how truly blessed we are. If my husband and daughter were gone, I would desperately yearn to see them again.  Theirs is a vacancy that could not be filled.  If my house or my car disappeared, I would be very sad indeed.  Neither is perfect, but both provide me with comfort and protection.

I could live without most of my clothes and other possessions, but there are a few sentimental items that I would want to have again. For instance, my aunt gave me a children’s bible when I was very small.  I must have looked at the pictures in that Bible over a thousand times.  Its binding is worn from use.  It sits on a shelf in my office and is a reminder that I once was small, unworldly and wholly dependent on the kindness of others.

This week, consider what you would crave if it were gone. Consider how blessed you are to have certain people and things in your life.  Yes, your life may not be perfect.  And yes, you may be working to change certain things for the better.  But that doesn’t mean you aren’t incredibly blessed today.

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