Relishing this Life

2014-03-04 15.29.08By Stephanie Gretchen Burgevin. Stephanie is a writer and retreat leader. She is an associate faculty member of Shalem and a graduate of their Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats Program and leads spiritual and secular programs. Stephanie manages Shalem’s blog. You can see more of her writing at

My grandmother, the grand matriarch of the family, died last Wednesday just 10 days into her 100th year. When someone dies at that age the death is not a surprise, but there is still sadness for the culminating loss.

Her passing has left me with a deepened sense of the deliciousness of this life I am living, the simple gifts that grace each day. I am left with a renewed respect and love for this life.

We in Maryland, as with so much of the country, have been hit by yet another snowstorm and bitterly low temperatures. Instead of getting wrapped up in the feeling of “no more!” I am better able to fully feel the aliveness of these days.

I feel blessed by the bright sunshine and glare that melted the thick ice off my car windows before I had to come out and scrape. Winter sun somehow feels so penetrating and healing. I’m hungry to absorb as much as possible these days.

I feel blessed by the sound of the snowmelt tinkling along the road, gravity pulling it toward the Patuxent River near the house. Had I not been out for a walk I would not have heard this joyful sound. I feel the blessing of my healthy body.

I feel blessed by the crisp morning air that tastes clean and wakes me faster than any caffeine!

I feel blessed by the beauty of the untouched snow knowing that this too is fleeting. Although it’s March and I’d love to be focusing on the tulips and snowdrops starting to peek out of their winter covers, there are blessings and beauty right here. This life is precious and instead of getting grumpy over the latest storm, I am dedicated to loving THIS day as it is, knowing there is an end coming to the snow, to this day, to this time.

March 03, 2014 by Shalem Institute 3 Comments
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10 years ago

I lost my mom a few short weeks ago – and this is so true. Loss heightens our awareness of the blessings of every day – and the importance of living in the moment. Thanks for your wisdom!

10 years ago
Reply to  calledeabrazos

I lost my dad a few years ago. I am so sorry for your loss! Holding you in the Light.

10 years ago

Stephanie, I had to speak out loud to myself the other morning when I raised the garage door on another snowy morning, “I will not complain, I will not complain.” I know that spring will come, and saying it out loud did help. I appreciate your message of hope amidst loss, and wish you peace in the passing of your grandmother.


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