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The Graduate

Counting your blessings

Megan Kinsella
MSN Class of 2013

Mount track star Megan Kinsella running career started
five seconds after this photo was taken when she sprinted
 from Santa lap to her mothers arms.

(12/2013) "When Iím worried and I canít sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep. Then I fall asleep counting my blessingsÖ" These fabled lyrics sung by Bing Crosby in White Christmas have been constantly running through my mind over the past few weeks. Of course, Christmas is coming and itís one of the most classic Christmas movies of all time. But all holiday sentiment aside, this song holds wisdom that we can all apply in our daily lives. There have been so many things this semester that I have been worried about and because of that Iíve learned even more than ever to always remember the important things in lifeóto always count my blessings and worry about nothing.

The longest amount of time I have ever spent away from my family was a few weeks while I was in school at the Mount. I would make it a point to get home over breaks and for random weekends during the semester, and they always came to my cross country and track races, so we never went long without seeing each other. So, needless to say, the past five months living in Louisiana, a thousand miles away from my family, have been quite difficult indeed. I have missed my family so much, and I cannot wait until Iíll be able to go home and spend time with them over the Christmas holiday.

There have been days over the past five months that my heart has literally ached from missing them so badly. While this heartache is not the most comfortable or fun feeling the world, it has made me step back and realize how truly blessed I am to have the family that I do. They always say that you never know how much something means to you until itís gone. Of course my family is not "gone," but these past five months have shown me how priceless they are to me, and how every single moment spent with them is precious.

Not only do I count them as blessings before I fall asleep, but also the people I have met and come to love here in Lafayette. Instead of wishing the time away until I can go home to see my family, Iíve opened my eyes and begun to recognize all the blessings God has given me here, right where I am. My momís mom always told us grandchildren to Bloom where you are planted. When I was growing up, this didnít make a whole lot of sense to meóI knew Anna (as we called our grandmother) was an avid gardener, so I assumed she was just talking about her flowers. Little did I know how much those words would help me as I got older! For the first couple weeks here in the South, it was hard to not think about wanting to go home to be with the people I know and love. After a little while though, I remembered Annaís wise words. I realized that God placed me here for a very specific reason and He was calling me to bloom exactly where He planted me, with the people He planted me next to. When I finally gave up control of my situation and stopped fighting it, I was able to start living in the moments of joy with the students Iím working with and my teammates. Everything happens for a reason, and if we learn to bloom where we have been planted, our worries will be fewer, and our joy greater.

In White Christmas, Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) tells the lovely Betty Haynes, "If youíre worried and you canít sleep, just count your blessings instead of sheep. Then youíll fall asleep counting your blessings." There are so many things in life that we can worry about: money, health, safety, providing for our families, and so on. Recently, I have been worrying a lot about the futureómoving closer to home, wedding planning, putting money into savings for our future family, and every other little thing you could think of.

My grandma on my dadís side is as Irish as they come, so of course she has a witty saying for every situation you could ever possibly experience. When it comes to worry, she always says, "Worrying is like a rocking chair; it gives you something to do, but doesnít get you anywhere."

I realized that if I spend so much time worrying about all of these things that I have no control over, I am missing the little, everyday blessings of the present. Yes, it gives me something to keep my mind occupied with and allows me to temporarily think that I can actually figure out all of these things right now. But, worrying just causes unneeded stress and tension in our lives, and doesnít allow us to take deep breaths, look around us, and appreciate the blessings that we have right now.

So, this year, remember to count your blessings; look around you and take time to live in the moment with the people God has blessed you with. Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself. Merry Christmas and a very blessed New Year!

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