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My life has been so blessed that it is almost impossible to count all of the extraordinary gifts and opportunities that have been sent my way. Many of our life blessings have their origin in the divine grace of God channeled through a simple earthly soul. Many find their origin in the kindness, attention, love and care of family, friends, and even complete strangers. It is in recognizing the loving nature of God within ourselves that we too can go out each day and be a blessing to our own corner of the world. Count your blessings and then pass them on to others. My prayer for each day is that in some small way, I can be an inspiration and blessing to others. 

Blessings may be defined in a variety of ways and experienced in both the simplicity and the complexity of life. In simple terms, blessings are the favor and protection that we are afforded by God and the power of Universal love. The conduit for spreading these blessings, be they great or small, lies in each one of us and our willingness to serve both ourselves and others. Allow me to share with you the most humble and sincere, “Prayer of Saint Francis,” in my efforts to focus on the perfect guide for our ability to spread blessings into an often chaotic and unsettled world. 

Peace Prayer of Saint Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace: Where there is hatred, let me sow Love; Where there is injury, Pardon; Where there is doubt, Faith; Where there is despair, Hope; Where there is darkness, Light; Where there is sadness, Joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek To be consoled as to console, to be understood As to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in the giving that we receive, It is in the pardoning that we are pardoned, And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life Amen

(Author Unknown-First Published 1912) 

Although the author and origin of the prayer is unknown, it is widely accepted as a Divine plan for how we should live our lives and the manner in which we should seek to bestow love and blessings in our world each day. 

As I think back on my own life, I have come to realize the myriad of blessings that I have been the recipient of and how these simple acts of love have helped to shape my life. The love of my parents that gave life to me…the patience and persistence to raise and care for me…the wisdom to teach, guide and discipline me…the love of family, extended family, and friends in providing direction, mentoring, and life examples of how to live a life of love and service. 

I have drawn many blessings and lessons from teachers, coaches, mentors and friends who took the time and care to provide their wisdom and experience for my worldly education. I have been afforded the kindness, the love, and yes, the discipline and redirection of my path by others at times when I needed it the most. I have walked the trails with romantic partners and gained experience, insight,  and the simple yet practical knowledge of what it means to love…to share…to commit…to serve…to put others first. I have been witness to both triumph and tragedy and sought in both arenas to rise to the occasion to congratulate or console. 

There is a simple phrase that guides my life, my thoughts and actions. “You can’t out give God.” We don’t enter into our actions of loving, giving, empathy and compassion with the expectation of receiving anything in return. The “gift” of our personal time, love, blessings, and service is a pure and simple gesture of our deepest concern and respect for another person…animals…nature…life in general. 

One of my greatest blessings was learning to simply release and “Let God” blend and bless me in Divine order.  When we seek to push things in our lives for particular desired results, we often find the greatest resistance.  Patience and persistence are far more effective in moving our lives in a particular desired direction.  It is in learning to have faith, exhibiting a positive attitude of gratitude, and believing that all that is good will come to me, that I express my highest personal expression to those around me. 

I have learned that it is in giving that we truly grow rich. My awareness of  the world and others in it have taught me that prosperity and true blessings in our life extend far beyond the perceived boundaries of material items. I’ve learned that by giving ourselves in the education and service of lifting up others, we do not diminish our own blessings, but rather multiply them tenfold. Many of our most cherished blessings, both given and received, are the time and loving attention of another soul. In a world that can often leave us lonely and feeling apart, personal connection and genuine kindness are more precious than gold. 

The apostle Paul wrote in the Bible book of 2 Corinthians 9:7, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Joy in our life is about passing on the blessings that we have been gifted and finding more joy by providing small, unselfish acts of kindness. The more we give of ourselves, our love, our time, our talent, our service and our treasure, the greater the contentment in our heart and soul. 

When our focus remains steadfast on our own blessings and our ability to bless others, then we open up the Universal flow of life, love, and Divine energy. Being the  “Instrument” referred to in the Prayer of Saint Francis, leaves no room for us to covet or compare our own blessings to those of our neighbors.  Each life is different.  Each life soul has different needs and desires.  Our greatest blessings in life do not lie in the material things, but rather in the peace, harmony and contentment of our heart, mind and soul. 

Jesus shared with us in the Bible book of Matthew 16:26, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” As you pause to reflect on your life’s blessings and I mine, let us search for an even greater resolve and commitment to be the blessings in this world that others might be praying for. Take a moment in silent gratitude each day to count your blessings and then resolve to pass along the love and goodness to others. 

Fred Clausen  

Fred’s latest book is The Divine Order of Our Random Life: A Collection of Teachable Moments and Human Observation. He is also the author of The Fork in the Road Leads Home: Reflections From My Life's Journeys...A Collection of Essays and The Essential Elements of Successful Coaching