GENDUSA COLUMN: ‘Cherish:’ My Chosen Word

Published 2:54 pm Tuesday, January 2, 2024

My friend, Ricki, begins each new year with a word. Her chosen word reminds her to use the term in everything she faces in the coming year. Focus, trust, and thankfulness are a few she has selected over time. Focus and pay attention to things that really matter in life. Trust God even when your mind doubts and be grateful for all the blessings He bestows.

I have never been one to select only one word and try to incorporate it daily into my life. But this year, during the holidays, a single word popped into my mind, and it seems to be stuck like a song does occasionally in my brain. 

The word is “cherish.” 

Watching my family open their presents on Christmas morning, I realized how much I cherish such moments with my children and grandchildren. 

Now a young college student, Avery, using humor, still counts her gifts under the tree as she did when she was five. Or the little ones, tearing open presents with wild abandon. Five-year-old Weston, shouting, “I love this!” before he knew what was inside the box, brought unified laughter from the family.  I adore the happiness, energy, and innocence that only a child can create. 

When our hands joined in prayer as we gathered at the table, I became acutely aware of how deeply I adored God, who granted me such tremendous delight. 

To treasure the people in our lives, the land we live upon, and the Lord who blessed us is vital to finding personal joy. And when we are joyful, we provide others with the gift of hope.  If we cherish those who walk with us, we spread all manner of good things.

My innocence is long gone, and the wrinkles and occasional aches age brings are not so great, but the wisdom gained over the years is glorious. I wish I possessed it when I was younger, but I cherish what little I have today. I now notice all the small but essential things in life. 

I am grateful for my age-disrupted body I dwell in because it still moves me around. I revive the youth in me when I attempt to keep up with the Weston’s and Avery’s in my world.

I do not fear telling those I love that I do because my voice will one day be silenced. Putting aside past grievances is the only way to move forward in peace. I realize now that each day matters to someone other than me and that, for sure, God is present with us all. 

According to Webster, to cherish means to hold dear, to keep or cultivate with care and affection. A synonym for the word is also “appreciate.”

More now than ever, the world needs loving cultivation. Honoring, cherishing, aiding, praying for, and supporting each other will comfort us and reap enormous benefits. To unify our people is what God wants and what we must do, regardless of what political stance we declare. 

A friend’s son was stricken with a severe illness before Christmas. A GoFundMe account was established, and within a short time, the funds surpassed the goal and continued to grow. Those who unselfishly give cherish life. 

Another friend is witnessing her precious husband losing his battle with cancer. 

Yet, she is joyful because she appreciates the time and abundant love the Lord gave them. Those who are thankful to God cherish life. 

A child’s sorrow over a father’s abandonment ends when he returns home on Christmas day. 

Those who forgive cherish life.

These three examples are just a few of the millions of stories regarding God’s hands in our daily lives.

Goodness abounds, and if we unite around kindness and outreach, we will change the course of tomorrow. We will do so for all the little ones who love the gift of life even before they know what it will bring. 

We will cultivate more abundant love if we begin the new year, focusing on such words as trust, thankfulness, and cherish.

And, if we speak of love and angels, we will not become as a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.*

Cherish and respect, give and forgive, and grow.

*Ref: Corinthians 1:13:1