Caribbean Visionary Educators

The Forgotten Road To Happiness: Lydia Brooks

The Forgotten Road To Happiness: Lydia Brooks

For today’s feature, we have a short story written by Ms. Lydia Brooks, the second-place winner of our Attitude of Gratitude competition. Ms. Brooks was grateful for the theme of our competition as being more grateful was a personal goal of hers. As the competition took place throughout the Christmas season, she was propelled to write a Christmas piece that contained elements of her own family Christmas traditions. Her piece leaves us with a powerful reminder to be thankful for the people in our lives.

My slumber slowly faded as I succumbed to the twilight shafts, teasingly illuminating my room. The dawn’s gentle breeze kissed my face, welcoming me to a new day, but not just any day. The soft bustling and laughter coming from the living room, the smell of freshly baked ham and bread and the tingling sensation of excitement in my stomach, told of the special occasion, Christmas Day. I departed from my cozy bundle and reminded myself to remember the reason for the season and thanked God for yet another Christmas. I made my way to the family, greeting them with smiles and well wishes before we sat down for our traditional gift exchange.

The morning was one of love and peace, before, it was my little cousins’ turns to open their gifts. The few of us gathered looked on in anticipation awaiting their reactions. They tore the wrapping paper at the edges with hungry excitement and Elizabeth, the older of the two sisters, gasped in awe, vehemently throwing her hands to her cheeks, as her eyes filled with tears. There before her, was a little locket. On it, a picture of her mother with her name engraved beneath. She looked at her mother with such intensity and love, before pulling her into a tight hug. Her little sister Martha however, had a quite different reaction. She looked down at the iPhone 8 on her lap and sheer disappointment was written all over her face. She looked at her mother’s and sister’s embrace as her eyes shot daggers at the two. It seemed everyone in the room had noticed what just took place and the air became thick with tension. She tossed the box to her side and folded her arms in a huff.

“Sweetheart? Don’t you like it?” Her mother asked. My heart broke hearing the painful undertone in her voice.

“You got the wrong generation,” Martha grumbled, before exiting the living room.

Silence ensued, until my uncle broke the tension with his witty jokes, as the gift exchange proceeded. As I sat there, I couldn’t help but think to myself; how many children today didn’t have a family to wake up to this morning; didn’t have any parents to buy them gifts but would have to look on as their relatives enjoyed the comfort of a mother or father. How many lesser fortunate families didn’t have the money to buy gifts for each other and would have to make do with each other’s company. How many families were grieving the loss of loved ones, with heavy hearts as a constant reminder that they were gone? I thought about how genuinely happy Elizabeth was with the loving sentiment and simplicity of her locket and the stark contrast with Martha’s reaction. I wondered if Martha knew that her mother had used the last bit of savings, she put toward a doctor’s appointment for her aching back, to get her the phone, knowing how much she wanted one and to see her happy.

What is gratitude? I asked myself. Is it a simple thanksgiving prayer in the morning? Is it acknowledging that there are always others with much less than you have? Is it making the best out of the little that life has given you? I thought it was all of the above. Many times, it is those who always make a concerted effort to be thankful with little seem to experience the most peace and happiness in life. Given this, maybe we should all seek to develop an attitude of gratitude, so like Elizabeth, we can appreciate the simple and the priceless things in life. Each other!

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