This is the time of year to think about blessings. That has really come into focus for me recently!

I will retire effective December 31, 2013. That event was celebrated recently at my work with a reception/party–and I realized just how blessed I truly am.

I’ll have to admit…I wondered a little bit just how many people would come. The reception was held at the end of the workday–and it is December, after all! Would people be too busy too come?

Surprise! I knew several people would be out of town or had other commitments (i.e., school finals)…but I was surprised and amazed at the number of people who took time at the end of the day to come and celebrate with me.

My co-workers had a ball coming up with ideas about all the different hats I wear at work–and making hats out of materials appropriate to my jobs to symbolize them.

People I had worked with (both current and past) were contacted and asked if they wanted to write memories for a scrapbook to share with me, and as I read them, I found myself saying over and over, “Wow!” Some saw me in ways I have not seen myself; others remembered things I had forgotten. I was also deeply touched by one specific letter from one individual. Because of some work-related issues, our relationship had been severely damaged (if not broken) at one point. Healing has occurred over the years–and that difficult journey was acknowledged in that letter–along with a statement of appreciation that deeply moved me.

We never know how we impact people. Sometimes our families know when thoughts are shared with them at a funeral. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to realize both how I have been able to minister to others and (maybe even more importantly) to share and celebrate with those who have touched me so deeply these past several years.

So now, as I prepare for Christmas break, I am also looking forward to a new chapter in my life. I’m not slamming the door on this past one–I will still remain connected, although in different ways than as a co-worker…but I am also excited about new possibilities that are opening before me.

May you also come to realize how much each of you are blessed–and how you also bless others.