Some people have a hard time verbalizing a simple thanks. But generally, a lot of people are quite thankful in nature. In fact, most people are too quick to say ‘thank you’. Like a reflex, or a practiced tradition. It’s just something we’ve been disciplined to do. I’m not saying it’s wrong — but somehow, like all words misused and overused, “thank you” is becoming an empty shell of its intended meaning.
Being thankful is good. But do we still remember what it means to show gratitude?
To be thankful is simple: you just have to be glad that something has happened or not happened, that something or someone exists. It can simply mean an expression of thanks. Gratitude is defined as a feeling of appreciation or thanks. But more than just a feeling, gratitude can also be an attitude. Every situation has a potential for good or bad, and it takes a grateful heart and mind to always focus on what’s worth appreciating.
The word grateful actually comes from an old Latin word for grace— and if we think about it, everything we receive is by someone’s graceful act. Each deed of kindness, each thoughtful word, each loving gesture, each show of concern, even each well-intended criticism or rebuke are all deeds of grace. People are not obliged to give these. And even if it is their supposed responsibility, they have a choice not to fulfill it. Yet, they still chose to do so. We don’t deserve them. And we still receive — even when we are at our most unworthy state.
Have you realized the amount of effort, sacrifice, passion, thought, commitment, and love that was poured out with each graceful deed we receive? And even if it doesn’t amount to much, such grace is beyond measure. That is why we should not be hasty in saying ‘thank you’ — although we should still be quick to do so. Nor should we be not limited to a word of thanks. Just like in our Filipino culture, we should also exhibit a debt of gratitude — or in a contemporary sense: pay it forward. A true sign of gratitude does not end with a self-centered enjoyment of such wonderful grace. It flows, and should enrich more people. For how can we be thankful to our givers, yet withhold ourselves from becoming givers as well? Would it not be even more gratifying to hear that someone you helped also extended the same gesture to someone else, simply because they were inspired by you? Would you rather hear a generous word? Would not a generous seed that bloomed be even more satisfying?
Being grateful is not easy. How can I be grateful for my failed relationships? How can I be grateful for my failed plans and dreams? How can I be grateful for my lackluster career? How can I be grateful for the loss in my family, for the jagged pieces of our broken stories? How can I be grateful for what I am — a sorry shadow of who I hoped and imagined myself to be 5-10 years ago?
Yet I felt and realize God’s grace throughout all these disappointments and heartaches. If not for my past love stories, I would still be immature — therefore, unprepared for and unworthy of that [potential] beautiful bride who may be waiting for me on that future altar. If not for the tortuous detours in my life goals, I may have missed a lot of wonderful memories and experiences which helped me grow more as a person. As for my current job — I am constantly reminded of how much grace I received just to be considered for it, as technically unqualified I am. And in my mother’s recent death, I find comfort and peace that after our family’s struggle for the past seven years, she finally can rest. It was God’s grace that ended her suffering, and it that I felt grateful to Him.
I could not be grateful enough for all the people who was gracious to me. I can only honor their kindness by doing the same, living with the same heart and mind. For even if I write everything to express the depths of my gratitude for their heart-warming influences, it is only with my life that I can prove how much I am in gratitude to those great people who bothered to share God’s bountiful grace with me.
A lot of troubles still brew over my own horizon. Yes, I choose to be grateful. Each moment, each opportunity to continue touching lives is only possible because of His grace — and for that, I live in ever-flowing gratitude.
Thank you for reading this blog. I pray that you will also discover the power of gratitude in your own journey.
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Want to know more about the be attitudes? Stay updated on the series:
#0 — Introduction
#1 — Gratitude
#3 — Certitude
#4 — Solicitude
#5 — Promptitude
#6 — Fortitude
#7 — Vicissitude
#8 — Quietude & Solitude