One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade.
I believe in collective effort; I believe in community. I believe that our gathering together for this special Gratitude Week carries a certain weight in the world. Most people on the face of this earth, let alone our immediate communities, will not know that we’ve been paying special attention to gratitude this week. But we know it. And, as we practice it, it will ripple into the world.
Gratitude has a way of softening the edges. It doesn’t take away the stressful commute or the chronic pain, but it opens our eyes wide to the fullness of the life we live. And when we, as individuals, begin to see this and know this and embrace this, it colors the way we move in the world. We will still stumble and make mistakes, but we will dust ourselves off and carry on with our work. The work of the office, the work of the house, the work of the heart. We will be the best people that we can be. And we will touch the lives of others.
We will be the ones remembering to say please and thank you. We will be the ones bringing in the mail for the elderly neighbor. We will be the ones holding the door. We will be the ones picking up trash at the park. We will be the ones donating time, money, skill. We will be the ones making home.
We will be the ones noticing the light falling across the floor. We will be the ones making someone smile. We will be the ones admiring the flowers. We will be the ones giving one more hug.
Those around us will see our practice. Some of them will follow suit. Others might not be quite ready, and that’s okay. But, in being our best (and most grateful) selves, we invite others to do the same. We needn’t say a word; we simply lead by example.
Children will see. Spouses will see. Aging parents and neighbors and co-workers and store clerks will see. We begin a practice of gratitude for ourselves, as a way to stay grounded and thankful. But, like the ripples of water that spread from the toss of a pebble, our gratitude also spreads. Our personal gratitudes rest in our hearts (remember Thursday’s reflection?), but they have a way of moving beyond ourselves.
Gratitude is never stagnant. It grows, it blooms. It gives shade to those who need it. It lies within, but it flourishes without. Plant your seeds of gratitude. A little here, a little there. Watch the shade spread; watch the rippled rings expand. First, begin where you are.
always the love, m