So many things I have taken for granted. “The Merriam-Webster Dictionary" definition: 2: something granted; esp: a gift for a particular purpose. I looked that up this evening. It is the first time I've ever wondered what the meaning of that word “granted" in the term “take for granted" meant.
I looked it up in “Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language" and found a more in-depth definition: 6. take for granted, a. to accept without question or objection; assume. b. to use, accept, or treat in a careless or indifferent manner.
Boy, that second set of definitions about said it all for me. Defined my attitude to a tee. It has always been easy to live that way-accepting without questions, assume, accept in a careless or indifferent manner.
It has not been that extreme for me throughout the years. I have always appreciated and treasured any time spent in the mountains, moments when critters of all kind shared part of their lives with me, the holidays, grandma and grandpa, books.
I learned that certain things I had assumed would always be a part of my life could be taken away. The love of a father and grandfather, through disease. The presence of a devoted, accepting, loving pet by old age. The dedication and companionship of a friend, by an auto accident.
Yet, from the blindness of youth I failed to see that, as the years passed, my skin was losing the supple glow of the young. My eyes, the vision that allowed me to read things that my parents could not. The agility and limberness that allowed me to play and fall. That made it possible for me to bang into and bounce off of furniture and walls and the hard ground and only cry about it if someone witnessed my clumsiness.
I lost that childlike vision that opened the world to the joy of giggles, the wonder of a baby bird, the excitement of my first trip to Disneyland, and the delight in anticipating the arrival of Santa. It was my heart's sight that allowed me to observe the world around me with an open mind, and the people in my sphere of existence as people I could trust-I never knew a stranger.
Somewhere between childhood naivety and the assumed maturity of young adulthood, I shed the ability to recall the miraculous, to trust, and to accept. As a person of “age" I began to take for granted, more and more, important things in life. Mortality, on a personal level, would not affect me. Disease was a destiny for others, but not in my world. Getting older. . . Getting gray. . . Getting rickety did not apply to me. Stairs and mountainsides, sand dunes and carnival rides would never seem insurmountable to me. My legs would not give out. My stamina would be forever youthful. I could always ride the tummy-tossing roller-coasters and whirling dervishes and never get sick.
The sun was my friend, the snow my playmate, and never would I have thought to fear them. The summer breeze at sunset would bring with it the scent of fresh-washed gingham, Breck shampoo in still-damp hair, and an air of romance-those magical moments would be mine, forever.
But forever suddenly becomes yesterday. And time hurtles on. The more complicated life and the world becomes . . . the more simpler experiences and moments give me the most pleasure. Regaining my childlike wonderment gives my older eyes renewed vision. The best sight, really. A melding of past and present, shapes my vision of the future. I have three angles to see through and the clarity has never been better.
It is all a gift, for a particular purpose, as the dictionary defined.
Thank you Lord for knocking me low enough that I could see everything, when looking up.
Copyright 2005 by Kathy Pippig Harris
My works have been featured in many online publications and in traditional print. I am also a weekly columnist for the publication “Frank Talk" which is distributed in several counties in the tri-state area of Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri. I've written four books and my fifth book, “For the Spirit-Soul, " a collection of my short stories and poems is now available.