Gratitude

 

Gratitude is an internalized emotion, which does nothing until externalized.

 

A birthday for a young nephew came around, but my husband and I live in a different city. As it was a ‘big’ birthday, we shipped him a special present. After several weeks, we’d not heard anything as to whether the item was appreciated, or even received.

When I spoke to my sister about the present, it was apparent I’d hit a nerve.

“Yes. He got it.”

“Did he like it?”

“Yes.”

Long pause. Then she said, “Didn’t you track the package? It would have shown we got it.”

“Yes.” Then I sighed. “I had hoped to speak to my nephew. Maybe hear that he liked it.”

“You mean, ‘thank you’? Is that why you sent it? You wanted to hear thank you?”

Stunned, I didn’t know how to respond. Needless to say, the conversation ended on a sour note.

I recall this exchange thanks to Hurricane Irma. She rattled our home, snapped our elm tree that fell across the driveway, and disconnected us from the grid. It was a rough night. But, we woke the next morning whole, and with a roof still over our heads. Thank you, God!

Without power, we faced the option of (what we now know to be) seven days of no air conditioning, refrigerator, stove, etc. Of our two sons and their families, only one had power. We all went there. With four children under the age of four and six adults under one roof, we had to find a way to make it work. “Please” and “thank you” were expressed by the adults to encourage the children as well as one another.

Irma wreaked havoc on our state. My family was richly blessed. The worst of it was the loss of power. So many others lost so much more. We are grateful beyond the pale, and expressed it several times each day.

My daughter-in-law, whose home we commandeered, is an amazing woman. During the time we were there, with all of the commotion and activity, she received a phone call. A woman from her church asked if she could come that evening and help with distribution of hot meals. Not only did she agree, but she made cupcakes and cookies to add to the meals. Then she took one of the four kids to the church with her, so that they could see gratitude in action. (Do you think the angel wings tucked into her shirt makes her itchy?)

When we express gratitude, it not only encourages those who give, but it connects you to that person on a spiritual level. By making cupcakes, or helping clear debris, being a nurse, working at the shelters, the doctors, firemen, police, these people understand that their work is satisfaction enough. But to hear and see the gratitude of the person for whom you do these things is to form an emotional connection. Sure, whine a little. Pout and/or cry for the tangible things lost. Even if all of your possessions remain undamaged, a traumatic experience such as surviving a hurricane is a legitimate reason for shock. Just don’t drone on for too long. Those around you trying to help will begin to feel frustrated that their assistance is unappreciated.

Gratitude feeds the giving spirit.

One moment you are in the position of giver. In the next moment you might be the receiver. To offer gratitude in action or word is to complete that circle.

Even if it’s nothing more than saying thank you.

 

 

9 thoughts on “Gratitude”

  1. I so agree with what you said about gratitude. It goes a long ways. if someone acknowledges a gesture, that you do for other people. It was the way that I was brought up. I talk about this with my husband and friends. Life has always had it’s ups and downs, but I really loved the 60’s and 70’s. Life was more honest and simple. At least from my point of view. There really is the good old days. I, a lot of times, wish those days would reappear.

    1. Hi Sally, thanks for the feedback.
      I am a child of the 70’s and have to agree that a lot of societal reproaches have disappeared. Remember “shame on you”? That went the way of the dodo bird because we didn’t want to hurt the self-esteem. But, there were also a LOT of problems back then, too. I’d rather wear my rose-colored glasses when I look to the past. But, I have no desire to return to that time. Although, reinstituting ‘shame on you’ might be a good thing. More important than that? Reeducating the populace that the words Please and Thank you are not signs of weakness, but demonstrations of strength.

      1. Thanks for your opinion. No I don’t want to go back to the 70’s. I just appreciate that time period, growing up and just having fun. All time periods have their issues and will continue into the future. It would be nice, if people were just kind to others. I grew up with manners. I don’t see a lot of that now. I clean homes for a living, with working parents. Kids don’t even have manners in their own home. Everything is hired out, so the future kids, that will be all they know. I’m glad that I earned my living mowing lawns, raking etc. I’m not saying all families, but I’m sure there is quite a few out there. Just one of my many pet peeves of life, lol.

  2. Jeanie, I loved the story, and know it’s a fact. Not only about gratitude, but who the person is in question. I know we weren’t raised that way.

        1. Thank you so much! I try to post at least once a week, but sometimes, you know, life. However, if you’re not up to date on the McShane stories (mini-mysteries for grown ups), now is the time. I’m going through the final touches of book 5. Should be done in the next two months. I’ll share the publish date here. Bonus point, they’re all ebooks!

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