Weekly Thought – June 6, 2023
Fred expressed gratitude as a natural part of his daily experience. He repeatedly reminded people “everything we have is from God.” Those who came to him for counsel after great losses invariably engaged in a gratitude exercise, not self-pity.
Gratitude – Pass It On
The longer I live, the more I use a grateful attitude as a test for maturity. I have a friend with a stage four cancer diagnosis. I went to see her and asked, “What do you have to be grateful for?” Her response, “Fred, I have had much to appreciate.” “I didn’t ask you about past gratitude, but your current situation. What are you grateful for right now?”
It is relatively easy for people to recite a list of past items, but it is sometimes more difficult to express the current ones. Our greed, or great losses, cloud our minds and hearts disabling our gratitude. Sadly, we focus on what we wish we had, losing our perspective.
Authentic gratitude is recognizing and appreciating what we have now, not for what we hope to have.
Genuine gratitude needs to “keep moving.” We need to practice the art of saying thank you – and meaning it. Formalized appreciation results in holidays (which seem to increase year by year) which socially require us to acknowledge others. An unforced “thank you” has more impact. But for some saying “Thank you” is often just as hard as saying “I love you.”
Gratitude represents dependence. It says, “I can’t do this all by myself… I need your help.” Whether we speak that to parents, teachers, colleagues, or God it is a sign of humility. It is also a human bridge – it connects us to one another. When we acknowledge the contribution of others we build them up.
I was asked to be the keynote speaker at a graduation ceremony in Corpus Christi. Those receiving diplomas were leaving a drug rehabilitation program. One young man came up, obviously the toughest one in the group. When the leader described him as hostile when entering, the group laughed. Then he spoke: “Joe is the one who helped me – the one who taught me what I needed to know. When I fell down, he showed me how to get back up. I want to thank him.” Sitting next to Joe was a woman with her head down. The young man finally, with great difficulty, and almost in pain looked over at her. “Thank, Mom.” Her countenance changed – there was light in her face. I bet that was the first time in all his troubles he had caused her he had even acknowledged her.
At that moment I saw the power of gratitude.
This week think carefully about: 1) How quickly do I say “thank you?” 2) What example of gratitude do I set for others? 3) Who needs to hear “Thank you” right now?
Words of Wisdom: “Gratitude represents dependence. It says ‘I can’t do this all by myself… I need your help.’”
Wisdom from the Word: “The LORD strengthens and protects me; I trust in him with all my heart. I am rescued and my heart is full of joy; I will sing to him in gratitude.” (Psalm 28:7 NET Bible)