‘I asked god to give me all things so that I could enjoy life, God gave me life so that I could enjoy all things’, a touching quote I came across during a visit to an institution for the physically challenged that stuck like a leech to the mind.
Further pondering on the quote made me wonder! How often as human beings have we looked at what we have and given thanks. In-fact we have fuelled our stress and tension level by cursing, complaining about the smallest of problems which always seem infinite, a tsunami of sorts. In my scrap book is another quote which prominently stares at me every time I browse through it "I complained because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet". An analogy that works perfectly with our never ending ‘wants.’
There are numerous reasons for my inclination towards this important but somehow sadly forgotten subject of ‘Gratitude and Appreciation’. One of the reasons being my experiences in a fast moving world of consumerism and materialism. Our lives seem interwoven with misery and pain because we have never ever appreciated the butterfly in the caterpillar, we have always looked at the caterpillar negatively and scornfully. That is typical of our being, we are by nature moaners, we like to have things served on the platter, we scorn at the people who are successful not understanding the challenges and the impediments they encountered to reach the top.
It was my late father who reminded me "count your blessings not your crosses and you will stumble upon paradise rather than a place called the world". This small but mammoth bit of advice had somehow been lost in my formative years. But as years devour me, I have begun to understand the actual meaning of it. ‘Gratitude and Appreciation certainly opens the door to fullness of life’. It turns negative to positives, denials into acceptance, existence into living, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend reflecting beautifully on the bygone past, bringing a kind of serenity to today and the future.
…Gratitude, Appreciation or a simple Thank you’ is a wonderful thing….
Mother Theresa put it very simply "There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread". It was her strong conviction and vision that made her build a charitable home in the heart of one of US’s richest cities for she believed people were starving of love and appreciation – of being wanted – of being cared and she was spot on with her assumption. The numbers to the home filled in pretty quickly.
Which brings me to an incident some years ago at a coffee shop in downtown Toronto, I was sipping my latte when a very old wrinkled face lady asked if she could sit and talk to me. I was puzzled but there seemed a kind of sadness on her face that made me immediately say yes. In a brief but engaging time, I was given a run down of her life and her children. The old lady had done her duty diligently in her role as a mother, a grandmother, an aunt etc but the beneficiaries of her kindness and love seem to have relegated her to an apartment treating her like an unwanted piece of furniture housed in the storage room for disposal. My eyes turned moist as I left hearing the words "They don’t care for me anymore. My kids don’t even visit me for Christmas". I asked her to call if she needed any help wondering ‘all the lady needed was a visit and a hug – was that too expensive’. She needed human warmth not fees for what she had done.
Giving back goodness is important whether it is people you know or just a stranger. People like Warren Buffet and other big names who have recently giving a substantial amount of their earnings back, feel the need because they have reached a pinnacle where monetary satisfaction doesn’t hold good. There is a quiet joy and calmness to the inner soul in giving back the money earned whilst a great sense of satisfaction in radiating a sense of significance to others.
‘Gratitude, Appreciation or a simple Thank you’ is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well. And it is rightly said that "Nine-tenths of wisdom is gratitude and appreciation".
Undoubtedly, a dose of it everyday by each one of us will see smiles return, clouds disappear, flowers bloom, birds sing – a much needed positive aura in a world which has simply lost its way.
About the Author:
Author: Irwin Rego- Bahrain