When I was a child my mother was constantly reminding me to count my blessings. My mother didn't have a very easy life. She lost her mother when she was five and a few years later a stepmother whom she also loved dearly.
She became a widow at forty five, my father was fun loving and care free , not the type to have insurance policies so she was left with three children and no income.
My brother was studying for the priesthood at the time and offered to take time out and work to support us until my sister and I were finished school. She wouldn't hear of it. " You do God's work and God will look after me " she said.
And so God did look after her, we lived near the university and she took in students during the term, she cooked and cared for them as if they were part of our family and many of them told us that, that was just how they felt.
She worked so hard and yet was always ready for a laugh, a trip to town with Auntie Peg, or a show in the opera house, sometimes I'd come home from school and there would be a note on the table, "Gone to a funeral with Charlie Brown please cook the tea for the boys." (Now not many people would regard a funeral as a day out but this is Ireland and a funeral except a tragic one is not always a sad affair. It's often a time to meet old friends and catch up and Mum loved that).
She always had her priorities right when it came to having fun. My brother was a missioner and Mum took every opportunity to visit him, if it was a case of new windows or a trip away, there was no choice, her bag would be packed and off she would go, counting her blessings and telling us how lucky she was to have such a full interesting life.
She is dead twenty years now and more and more I am realizing her courage and wisdom.
Lately I'm taking her advice on counting my blessings and have started to write them down each morning and again before I go to sleep. It proving to be a wonderful way to realize how lucky I am to have such a full interesting life.