Gratitude enriches our lives, infusing each day with vibrant hues of appreciation. It is not about possessing more than others, but about cherishing the unique threads that weave into the fabric of our existence, creating a colorful mosaic of experiences.
Over the past year, I have encountered individuals who have left an indelible mark on the canvas of my life.
The first person was a petite lady, barely four and a half feet tall, whose spirit overflowed with gratitude. Meeting her monthly, I witnessed her heartfelt appreciation for every bit of assistance she received. Posthumously, I learned of her challenging past—losing her father at a young age and shouldering the responsibility of caring for her mother and younger siblings as they fled northern Korea before the Korean War. Their journey led them to the Inchon area, a place fraught with historical significance. Later, she immigrated to the United States, and fate brought us together. Her family remained profoundly grateful for her enduring love and support.
The second individual, a man in his mid-eighties, found joy in volunteering, a passion we both shared.
A retiree from Geneva Steel, a cornerstone of livelihood for many in Utah County, he sought purpose after his wife’s passing. Through volunteering, we crossed paths, and he regaled me with captivating tales of his life, embracing the joy of family and making the most of his golden years.
Next, I encountered a man only a month or two older than myself, always dressed impeccably and brimming with excitement whenever we met. He had been lovingly cared for by his devoted mother, who secured a promise from her sister and brother-in-law to continue his care after her passing. Within fourteen hours of his funeral, his brother-in-law passed having fulfilled the commitment made to his sister-in-law.
The final encounter was with a 37-year-old man, who because he was born prematurely had severe cerebral palsy. Despite his physical limitations, his elderly parents cared for him tenderly, and I could sense his understanding and appreciation through his expressions and smiles. Our interactions often revolved around his beloved Brigham Young University sports teams. He wore a BYU poncho during the winter months that kept him warm in his wheelchair.
Each of these individuals, with whom I either served or served alongside, left an indelible mark on my life. Their presence imbued my life with deeper meaning. Although their physical presence is no longer with us, the memories of our time together continue to warm my heart, filling me with gratitude for the privilege of knowing them.
John Chase is an avid observer of life, finding inspiration and meaning in the relationships and experiences that color our existence.