Gratitude: A Word That Makes The World Go 'Round
It seems the word "gratitude" is everywhere at this time of year. Its various appearances via blog posts, magazine articles, and talk show repartee, all serve up a heaping scoop of this intangible thing we refer to as "gratitude." What is it really? and why is it an ephemeral idea juiced up with the turkey brine? Must we, as a society, need reminders to be grateful? I suppose, like all things, what we focus on we get, and what we give, we have returned to us.
The American Heritage Dictionary describes "grateful" as, "(1) Appreciative of benefits received; thankful. (2) Expressing gratitude." It then describes "gratitude" as, "The state of being grateful; thankfulness." This provides us a somewhat descriptive albeit circular answer. Lacking black and white confirmation to guide us in this quest, the answer is left to each individual to ponder, search, and discover what it means. It is up to each of us to then take it and pass it on, creating a ripple effect in one's corner of the world.
To me the key words are "appreciative" and "expressing." If you have gratitude, you know it, and can share it. It can come in small ways, large gestures, or an anonymous outreach. One can never say thank you enough for any and all warranted occasions. It can motivate, uplift, and help oneself as well as another.
So what is the common denominator? People. It's not the car you drive, the house you live in, the clothes you wear. These comforts are all enjoyable in life but when you strip them away, what remains are the people in your life. The people who are no longer among us, but touch your thoughts each day; those who are far away yet close at heart; the friend who you call after many years and welcomes you with a smile in her voice; even those with whom a singular interaction can change an outcome for the better. It's the ones who share your morning coffee, accompany you to the doctor, join you for an adventure without hesitation, give you clarity when you can't make sense of a situation, finish your sentence when the word escapes your mind, and are simply just there when you need them.
For me, it is all of these people and of course, the Here We Are readers and listeners. For all of you, I am grateful, thank you. Please share with me what gratitude means to you. If you'd like to share it quietly, send this to someone and let them know what they mean to you.
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@Bose: I wish more people realized, "Stuff cannot love you." Great point. Thx!
Posted by: Luci Weston | November 2010 at 05:27 PM
What a beautiful way to explain that intangible feeling of gratitude. When I read this and thought about it, I did think that I am grateful for waking up this morning, grateful to have a job, a roof over my head, a few pennies in the bank, etc. but mostly I think about the people I have in my life. I am definitely the most grateful for the people I love and who love me. Stuff cannot love you. A wonderful and timely post. Thanks.
Posted by: Bose | November 2010 at 01:09 PM
@Donna Maria: Thank you for your lovely comment. You make a great point about technology. I was telling a story this morning and had to say, "...this was before the internet." It's funny how much technology shapes our daily lives now; and your comment reminds me that without it I couldn't write HWA. TY! And Happy Thanksgiving!
Posted by: Luci Weston | November 2010 at 12:37 PM
Luci: Thanks for this fantastic post, and the reminders about how important it is to focus on the people around us more than the creature comforts. I am also thankful for the technology that allows me to stay in touch with the people I care about. As I type this comment, I'm on my Mac using an AT&T satellite card so I can enjoy reading my IBN member blog posts on the road. Thank you for your blog and the thoughtful posts you share here. Happy Thanksgiving!
Posted by: Donna Maria Coles Johnson | November 2010 at 01:54 PM