Somewhere among these terraces lives a 58 year old man (possibly 59 now) whom I met back in March on the last day of my 9-day trek to Poon Hill and Annapurna Base Camp. While I was trekking back to lower ground, he stopped me outside his modest home at the edge of a cliff with a view of immeasurable beauty, eager to make conversation and learn a bit about me and what had brought me to Nepal, to ask if I had any cigarettes or candy to share with him.
Though it didn’t come wrapped in shiny paper, meeting him and sharing his company was a gift, one of countless gifts I’ve received this past year. Despite the fatigue in my muscles, the hunger in my stomach, the solitude in my heart, the fact that I was sleeping in a different bed almost every night warmed by a sleeping bag I had only rented, the unsettling reality that I had a little less money with each passing day… Amidst so much uncertainty and perceived dysfunction, I felt immense peace, joy, and love at the time.
I struggle to find this peace at times, especially being back in Canada where the world seems to spin so much faster and I sometimes feel like I’m being left behind with the much quicker pace of life. We struggle so often to find something so right or ideal that we often fail to recognize what we do have. This Christmas, I am grateful for what I do have – the presence, health, and support of my family being the greatest gift after an exceptionally difficult month.
I recall the peace I experienced that day and wish this peace for all of you. I’m thankful for the interactions I’ve had with you, no matter how much time or distance has separated us. I am grateful to you, as I am grateful to that 58 year old man, for being part of my life in one way or another, and contributing to the wrinkles on my face from smiling so often.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 🙂