Bird Droppings May 20, 2010
So often we forget to say thank you. I have often said we are surprised by nature be it using such descriptive words as coincidence or synchronicity as events unfold. I was heading out to walk the dog and a great starry sky was directly in my path. What was so funny is earlier this morning when I went outside with my dog I did not see it maybe I should be thankful the brilliant sky did not wake the dog up more so I did get a good nights sleep.
“The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.” H.U. Westermayer
So often a simple thank you is all that is needed. No great platitudes and or award just a word actually two words will suffice.
“Gratitude is the memory of the heart.” Jean Baptiste Massieu, translated from French
A muscle about the size of a fist and I find it interesting within our comparison we draw using what is so often an illustration of anger to an instrument more often of love.
“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.” Meister Eckhart
Eckhart, scholar and theologian offers in simplicity his view on gratitude how crucial to life itself. Yesterday evening just as I sat down to a plate of spaghetti the door bell rang. It was a census taker. Since we have a PO Box for mailing we never received a census form. I wonder if we have been a part of the census for the past thirty years since I have never really answered census questions before. I wonder how many others get missed. While I was asked questions one of which was “do you mind if I indicate white in the race box? To which I responded my father is one eighth Delaware and my kids are roughly a quarter Cherokee. “Well” he said “and then you are Native American.” I did not argue with him. My point as I read Eckert’s thought was that in Native American culture it was common place to offer thanks prior to picking that medicinal herb from the earth or killing that deer to feed the family. Survival was a process of giving thanks. Something we have forgotten.
“The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you.” John E. Southard
When I first read this I wondered how you get even with someone who has helped you that is a difficult proposition. The more I thought it seemed to be that we make it so. Because it is rather simple we get even by responding with gratitude.
“Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” G.K. Chesterton
“For each new morning with its light, for rest and shelter of the night, for health and food, for love and friends, for everything thy goodness sends.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
My dear friend Ralph, I find his words often lend to a morning meanderings. I would wager my high school English teacher would not believe that the person I would most want to meet is RWE. She probably would not believe I even knew who he was let alone borrow from his work nearly daily. Emerson found meaning and gratitude in all about him and more so in his pupil Thoreau.
“Grace isn’t a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It’s a way to live.” Jackie Windspear
With every family gathering we say grace before we eat the same words each time. “Bless this meat that we shall eat the bread that we will break may all our actions be kind and sweet we ask in his name sake”. For nearly sixty plus years I was raised on that and isn’t it interesting as I look at the words while more so from ritual that understanding may all our actions be kind and sweet. It is about example and modeling which in life are such powerful tools.
“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” W.T. Purkiser
“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” Thornton Wilder
When we open our hearts and truly see the amazing and how changes occur and how vibrant life can be.
“There is not a more pleasing exercise of the mind than gratitude. It is accompanied with such an inward satisfaction that the duty is sufficiently rewarded by the performance.” Joseph Addison
A difficult task in a world filled with compensation and “what’s in it for me”. I wonder how those original Pilgrim seven graves per hut would respond to that or to “how much is my take” that we hear daily or “what do I need to do to pass”, which is my favorite.
“Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.” Estonian Proverb
As in so many aspects of life we need to start with the smallest most minuscule aspect and respond with thanks
“The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.” Eric Hoffer, Reflections On The Human Condition
Why is it so hard for us as humans to be thankful? We so quickly turn our backs and walk away. We so quickly choose to go another direction to avoid saying thank you and we so often forget. Eric Hoffer was the common man’s philosopher, a great thinker from humble surroundings and he held such itinerant jobs as a dock worker and miner among them. He read and thought. Many academias never will accomplish what he did midst his strenuous life among people. As I read his thoughts this morning I found myself thinking for how many weeks have I suffered under my issues at hand and not looked at those many blessings about me. We tend to hide under our rocks instead of climbing on top and basking in the sun. Even my bearded dragon lizard Spike at school knows to do that. Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.