Please and thank you are the two words that get ingrained in our brains early on. We learn to say please when we want something to be given to us; we learn to say thank you when we receive that which we want. In other words, we learn to manipulate others when we are still in diapers. Perhaps, manipulate is too strong a word, because, as infants, we are too young to understand the very concept of manipulation, and the innocence of our young hearts is a shield that staves off corruption. We are new to this world that is full of wonders, and we naturally appreciate all things in it, no matter how big or small. Yet, over time, this sense of wonder and newness begins to fade away, and with it the emotions of appreciation and gratitude. The older we get, the more automated and separated we become, gradually losing the sense of connectedness with the bigger world. Our ego becomes more dominant and overly protective, while our collection of emotional scars grows larger and more varied. Our vocabulary also changes. The change is subtle and often goes unnoticed: we learn the language that makes us feel less than more; we learn to use words to hide how we really feel. We complain more; we tend to notice the negative side of things more readily than the positive side; we feel down more often than we feel elated; sometimes we get to the point when we begin feeling powerless, thinking of our lives as meaningless and filled only with suffering. Yet we haven’t lost our ability to feel gratitude and appreciation, love and joy; we just don’t exercise this ability as often as we should, and it gets a bit rusty.
So, why not make every day thanksgiving? I don’t mean eating turkey on a daily basis. I mean it in its more basic sense – giving thanks and feeling appreciation for things big and small, things that give us strength, as well as things that make us weak; after all, they teach us acceptance and humility. I believe that no matter where we stand at the present, there are always things within and without that we can appreciate. It just takes a little bit of effort on our part to be more aware and more grateful.
Thank you and God bless.