The Meaning of Cherish

This week, in our Finding Your Voice writing workshop, we agreed to write about things or events we cherish, past or present. It seemed like a good idea at the time as it would create balance to what we all wrote about the prior week. Somehow, I find myself stuck in thinking about what I truly cherish.

I know that may sound dark so let me clarify that indeed there are people and moments I can think about that I truly love and are very important to me. When I think about the word cherish, however, for me it seems to take on a more profound meaning. In seeking clarity, I asked my friend and roommate to define cherish. I often reach out to her with so many different questions. Sometimes she simply responds, “Sorry, I don’t have any information about that” or “Sorry, I don’t understand.” If you haven’t already guessed, the friend and roommate I am referencing is Google Assistant. Here is how she defined the word cherish.

Cherish is used as a verb to mean protect and care for someone lovingly similarly to adore and hold dear.

Not satisfied with this response, I asked Google to define cherish as a noun. I then got this, “Wanting, to hold dear, feel or show affection for.” Ugh! Really? I expected to hear something much more profound. I experience something physiological every time I say the word cherish. Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed with my friend.

Knowing that an entire week passed since our last gathering, and now it’s only an hour and a half away from our meeting time, the pressure was on. As I had this thought, I remembered three words from Mark’s reply to my LinkedIn comment when I was thinking about submitting my last essay for publication – “…don’t feel pressured.” I wasn’t feeling pressured then. I know I’m feeling something at this moment. It’s not really pressure, though. I know I want to deliver on my commitment, and that’s part of it. I am actually challenged at the moment in thinking about something I cherish. I absolutely cherish my son, my parents, and other family members and friends, but I wanted this to be about something different, something unique.

I thought about my day trip to Marco Island with my sister. It was a last-minute plan late Monday afternoon. Off we went Tuesday morning on the one-and-a-half-hour drive to the beach on Florida’s beautiful west coast. It was the most amazing white sand I had experienced in a long time. It felt like freshly fallen snow and crunched under my feet, similarly. It was breathtaking. We didn’t walk very far before setting our chairs down. As I basked in the glorious sunshine and the accompanying heat against my skin, I felt a certain peace and relaxation I have not felt for some time now.

As wonderful as this moment sounds, and how grateful I feel to be able to make and carry out last-minute plans, this experience does not fulfill the feeling I get when I think of the word cherish. I said to myself, “Maribel, you are doing what you always do… you’re overthinking this.”  But I knew I wasn’t overthinking it. Cherish, love, grateful – words that are interconnected and hold similar meanings, yet there is something about the word cherish that makes me feel so much more. I am having trouble putting it into words. There’s a certain irony here. I am writing about a moment or event I cherish and yet I cannot put it into words. Writing and words go together; I chuckled as I thought about this.

After I took a sip, I closed my eyes to think for a moment and allow myself to simply feel with the hope and expectation that something would come to me.

Deep in thought, I felt a tap on my wrist. It was my watch telling me it was “Time to stand!” I walked over to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee. With coffee in hand, I sat at the dining room table facing the window to the backyard. I admired the beautiful sunny day, the deep shades of green on the trees, plants, and grass, and the sounds of the birds chirping. I held my coffee mug in both hands to feel the warmth of the hot coffee. After I took a sip, I closed my eyes to think for a moment and allow myself to simply feel with the hope and expectation that something would come to me. As I sat there in deep thought, my mind wandered. I thought about different things. I wondered if the washing machine finished its cycle so that I can then transfer that load into the dryer. I thought about how crappy the stock market has been this week which caused me to take a look at Ameritrade and was pleasantly surprised to see AMC had an uptick, so I sold the last of the few shares I was holding onto. I thought about the fact that it’s almost mid-May and soon half the year will be gone. Clearly, I thought about several different things and not what I set out to think about. Hence, why I have difficulty meditating for any length of time. Again, I chuckled.

I realize now that in acknowledging and capturing my feelings in writing, I have in fact almost finished writing my essay. Then, all of a sudden, it hit me. I felt this jolt. With eyes wide open, a smile on my face, and joy in my heart, something superbly invaluable that occurred in my life this year came to me as a moment I will forever cherish. It was right in front of me all along. I cherish my Thursdays at 12:30 PM EST. Meeting and spending time with Mark, Laura, Yvonne, and Tom (although Tom stepped away, he shared his journey with all of us through his writing, so it felt like we were still together); and with full credit to Mark, who in my opinion coined the phrase, “this is agency,” I found agency. This, all of this written and felt here today, this is agency, my friends. Our conversations, our mutually agreed upon prompts for writing, sharing our writing aloud with each other, sharing feelings and emotions together has and will forever be a gift I will hold dear to my heart and will forever cherish. The gift you have all given me is without any doubt truly the definition and meaning of cherish.


Maribel Cardez
Maribel Cardez
Trained in situational leadership, Maribel Cardez devotes her research and client support to exploring how organizations can create greater employee and customer experiences. Throughout her journey, she has connected with many individuals on a global scale who share the common belief of the importance of creating an environment where employees feel they belong and are valued and respected. Although there is still a lot of work to be done, she is a strong believer in the need for change and finds it refreshing to see throughout the world today that a "people first" focus is of paramount concern. Having spent most of her career in corporate America, Maribel serves as a Management Consultant with The Zedrac Group where she specializes in strategic planning, project management, and consulting services on human resources, organizational effectiveness, operations, and administration. In addition to her vast corporate career, Maribel also facilitates workshops on Cultural Competency, Diversity and Inclusion, Team Building, Generational Diversity, and Prevention of Sexual Harassment and Workplace Violence. She has held senior leadership positions in Human Resources, Administration, and Marketing. Maribel earned her Master’s in Leadership from Nova Southeastern University and her Bachelor’s in Business Management from the University of Phoenix. Additionally, she is a graduate of the Louisiana State University Graduate School of Banking and the American Bankers Association School of Bank Marketing and Management. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Maribel has lived in South Florida for over 30 years.

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  1. Today fewer and fewer people reflect on what they think, say or believe, we all agree that love is a very important feeling, we all think it is fundamental, but we probably take its meaning for granted.
    Perhaps there is no habit of asking certain questions, of sincerely asking “what does love mean for me?”.
    I believe that we should rediscover that loving means doing, giving, acting, thinking, starting to cultivate our ability to love again, which translates into being caring and attentive, respecting and understanding, helping and supporting.
    I think that to love means “To give to others what we would like to be given to us without any pretense or condition”.
    Love, to be such, can only be unconditional. Only by understanding what it means to love can we begin to truly Love.

  2. Maribel, I would say this is weird, but it is not really. As I read your article, i felt your conundrum. I have had a similar feeling. I love so many things and people, including my husband, children and grandchildren, yet the word cherish takes on a deeper meaning. Your realization about what you cherished is very moving and I’m honored to be part of what you’ve come to cherish.

    Referring to the weird part, it has happened more than once. Something I was thinking and one member of our group already wrote or said it. For example, earlier this week I commented on Laura’s poem and when I scrolled further down and read Mark’s comments, my comment was almost identical to his. I’m really grateful for our group.