2017-11-01 / Features

Heartfelt ‘thank yous’ in season of gratitude

Here is what I like. Here is what makes me glad to share the world with you. Here is what I am grateful for. Simple things, because the big stuff -- friends, family, freedom, faith, good health and life in the land of plenty -- always get covered in a Thanksgiving-focused column. At least they should.

But there is more to remember with gratitude. I simply forget, from time to time, how important the “more” really is.

Interestingly, it is when I am most perplexed, disgruntled or outright angered by someone else that I end up – once I have huffed and puffed a bit – realizing I do not have to stay in that frame of my mind. I can choose, instead, to focus on what delights me.

So, here is my list. It would exhaust your interest span if I mentioned everything, but these reasons to murmur a quiet “thank you” will start the discussion off nicely, I think, and, perhaps, some of the things that make music deep within me will strike a similar chord on your heart strings.

I say “thank you” in my heart when I see you smile. No matter how you view yourself in the mirror every morning, no matter what you wish could be different about your appearance, no matter how much you yearn for someone else’s face or hair or body, I find you beautiful when you smile, and it makes me happy to see you.

I say “thank you” in my heart when I notice you humbly present yourself as a person of innate worth. That means you view yourself as someone who has been uniquely endowed with gifts meant to be shared for the sake of your fellow man. It sends the signal, too, that you are willing to do just that, selflessly and with appreciation for the opportunity, because you also understand your talents and abilities are as diminished by false modesty as by excessive pride.

I say “thank you” in my heart when I catch you in a simple act of kindness. Perhaps you do not even think about it when you allow a waiting car to slip into a line of traffic ahead of you, and then you nod and smile at the driver. Perhaps you have never considered it “kind” to replace an item that has slipped off a hanger in a store so a weary salesperson won’t have to, or to put your shopping cart in a contained space so it will not roll into someone else’s vehicle, or to walk a few aisles back to return an item to the shelf where you took it, before you changed your mind about the purchase. But, you see, I do think, when I see you do any of those things, that there is kindness within you and it cannot be contained but must manifest itself in even these seemingly small ways.

I say “thank you” in my heart when I watch you stoop to the physical level of a child, look into that little one’s eyes and focus intently on what he or she has to tell you or show you. My gratitude is no less when you assume that same stance to firmly, but lovingly, insist a child must change direction and move along a better and wiser path – particularly when they do not want to go there and it would be easier for you to let them have the final say. Both things give me hope for the future that child will help shape some day.

I say “thank you” in my heart when I observe you not only listen to, but carefully evaluate, a point of view different than your own. Maybe your opinion is unchanged in the end, but disciplining yourself to consider things from the perspective of another moves us all just a little closer to finding common ground, it seems.

I say “thank you” in my heart often.

Because of you.

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