With Christians and Jews the world over celebrating Easter and Passover (respectively) today and in the coming days, now is a perfect time to count blessings.
As a Catholic, I celebrate Christ having died for our sins and conquering death by rising. My Jewish friends rejoice in commemorating the Hebrew escape from enslavement in Egypt.
And as people of these two and so many other faiths all around the world take some time to reflect on rebirth, renewal, and revival, I thought it'd be appropriate for me to share my gratitude for my many life blessings.
As I often mention, my husband and son are my two greatest, along with our parents, siblings, nieces, nephews and so many other treasured family members and friends. In fact, one of them happens to be celebrating his 12th birthday today, my sweet nephew, Scott. Happy birthday, buddy!
But there is one other person in my life for whom I'm feeling especially grateful today, Christine Ruggieri of Warren.
I'd refer to her as my friend, except that she is so much more.
Christine is that woman in my life who, after only my sainted mother and beloved sister, is my go-to girl.
This is a person who has seen me at my absolute worst and lied that I was gorgeous from head to toe. A woman who has shared my happiest moments and my darkest fears. She knows my secrets - and they're safer than they would be inside Fort Knox.
Chris is that rare combination of external and internal beauty, someone whose heart and soul are so pure and true that I can honestly call her selfless.
She is completely loyal and faithful to her parents (whom I adore, by the way), her husband, her friends, her job and her volunteerism.
She was the fiercest protector of her little sister Cynthia - now an angel in heaven - until her tragic passing last summer. In honesty, Chris retains that moniker even now.
She is the kind of person who draws people to her, not just because she's so lovely and graceful but because she is completely altruistic and just plain good.
Chris is unassuming, kind and humble. As a matter of fact, she's going to kill me when she reads this. But it's been a long time coming and she deserves it - and so much more.
It's ironic, really, that the very sentiments I hold for her can't be said any better than in a poignant letter she wrote for me.
"I thank God that you have let me be your friend. It is the hugest gift you give to me every single minute of every day and I only wish there was something I could do to make your life better.
"I still can't believe you are real and treasure all that makes you so special and wonderful. May sunshine surround you, God protect you and your family, and may your life always be filled with love and laughter."
All I can say is thank you, dear Christine. I'm the one who is undeserving of and so very grateful for you because you're the one who changed MY life for the better.
Happy Easter and/or Passover and blessings to all!
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.