"The pace of life can make us blur what’s important. We are all very busy, that’s for sure. But somehow we must always make time for gratitude and new beginnings. There are moments in life when you appreciate someone so much that you just want to stop and applaud them. ‘Feeling gratitude and not expressing it,’ said William Ward, is like wrapping a present and not giving it.’ " (Kobi Yamada or Dan Zadra, I can’t remember which).
During this Thanksgiving season, we may be a bit more mindful of all the things we are thankful for. Not surprisingly, when we really stop to think about it, our lists usually include more people than things. Our family has been trying to daily record something that we are grateful for. Although I haven’t read everybody’s entries, what I have seen so far is that people score much higher than possessions, when it comes to what we are truly thankful for.
Have you ever had that feeling that you just wanted to applaud someone in your life? I have felt that way at different times with different people in the last few years. I have felt that way toward veterans in recent days. I don’t even have to know them. However, we do know 3 young men that have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan in the last month. I want to stand and applaud them. I want to tell them ‘thank you.’ I want to tell them how proud I am of them. They have my utmost admiration and honor, but I have never told one of them that in person. They deserve a standing ovation.
So, here’s my thought. How often do we let people in our lives know how grateful we are for them? How many times have you thought great things about a particular person and not told them, but told someone else? Are we afraid it will all just go to their heads, or do we just not realize how much everybody needs encouragement? Do we even know the power of our words to bless others?
I went to a funeral today and heard a very touching eulogy. My thought always, is why do we wait for such an occasion? Did this man know how esteemed he was by his wife, 3 children, 11 grandchildren, friends and family? I believe he did, but he was a quiet and humble man. He would never have told anyone anything that could be interpreted as prideful. So, today, his son decided he would. He told of all the things he had learned from his dad and what his dad’s life and ways meant to him. Each of the male grandchildren wore one of their grandpa’s ties in tribute to him. Bob wasn’t here to unwrap that gift, so we did it for him. It was one of the best gifts of the day!
When one of my friends hit a "major milestone" in birthdays a few years ago, I had a small celebration with about 8 of her closest friends. Although we had a wonderful time together, one of the highlights for her was a living eulogy I wrote for her. I did not think that she was going to die anytime soon. I just wanted to make sure that some things were said about her so she could enjoy unwrapping them.
I have heard it said that, "Today is a gift. That is why it is called the present." We never know what tomorrow will hold. We assume our friends and family will be there to surround us, and that they know how much we love and appreciate them. Are you grateful for them? Have you told them in words face to face or written down on paper? Or is it a gift wrapped and left unopened?
I can only speak for myself. I want to determine to be a person who is never too busy to appreciate another’s presence in my life. I want to stand and applaud those people who have stood by me. I want to commend all those who encourage me and support me along this crazy journey called life. I want to give the gift of gratitude. I want the wrappings, the tissue paper, and the bows to be strewn throughout my life as evidence that the gift was given, opened and enjoyed!
In many ways, Thanksgiving seems to usher in the holiday season. As we look ahead to a week of Thanksgiving festivities, may the spirit of gratitude abound. Let the giving begin!