There are so many things that I am grateful for and not enough words for me to express my thankfulness for having arrived at this stage of maturity. I was a late starter and although there is no sign of that now, can recall being under the weather in summer and forced to retreat indoors while others played outdoors.

In primary school, I was fortunate to have educators who loved their jobs and did their best, even going overboard at times, to work with their students to achieve their goals by offering lessons before or after school and providing text books. I can recall my Kindergarten teacher who would give me lunch at times, as I was a picky eater and did not always want to eat the meal provided for me in my lunch kit.

In High school, I occupied the front row and desk directly in front of the teacher due to my penchant for engaging in girlish pranks (tossing a snack in my mouth under the guise of a mid-yawn) during class. To keep things from getting stale, I would occasionally turn to the class and make faces or pull pranks that would elicit a chuckle and at times send them into an uproar. Needless to say, I still enjoy good humor but am most attentive when I am being instructed

I had a wonderful mother, in addition to elder brothers and sisters and a host of cousins, which prepared me nicely for life. The world of work was not so strange to me as I had already been exposed to a wide variety of personalities and differences, right at home. It was so many of us that I did not have to leave home to attend a celebration. The very first house party that I attended was at my own home. In fact, our extended family was so big that there was not a month that it was not someone’s birthday. We did not need a reason to celebrate life and enjoyed regular gatherings catered by my mother, who was an excellent cook.

In my life and career I am afforded the opportunity to meet, work and volunteer with diverse groups of people. I am most times glad (although there were a few times I wish I did not) to converse with, exchange view points, share similarities and explore differences, verbalize hopes and dreams and laugh at ourselves when necessary (but hopefully not too often) all the while performing our assigned roles.

In all honesty, my gratitude journey consists of things that are at times in direct contradiction to each other. Times when I had to endure seasons of testing and trials, being misunderstood and not being politically correct. I am learning to be content. It could be better, but it could also be a whole lot worse.

To sum it all up, I refer to these words from the song “Greater is Coming” by Jekalyn Carr.

If it had not been for the shaking, I would not have been ready for the making,

If it had not been for the beating, I would not have been ready for the making,

If it had not been for the pressing, I would not have been ready for the making,

He’s preparing me for greater.

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