“Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.” – Henry Van Dyke
Last week, I was running back from the gym and it started to rain. I was a block away from home and a neighbor stopped to see if I was alright and offered a ride. In the middle of routine, a simple act of kindness breaks through and pierces the wall of attention.
We “attend” to so many things and over-commit that our attention is scattered in dozens of directions. Distracted by tasks, we miss so many opportunities to notice, extend or accept simple acts of kindness. To be present in the gift of now.
It is so very easy to be jaded by the world-view – the bias and cynicism of the news, the incivility of politics, the sheer speed that technology demands of our time. Our perspective on everything can get skewed by our assumptions, judgments and swift conclusions and then onto the next for more of the same. We live our days in a series of quick transactions rather than fostering meaningful relationships that require time, attention and effort.
A simple kind act received or given can shift your perspective, lift your spirit, change the direction of your day. This, by far, has not been my “favorite” year and I look forward to the year winding down. Yet woven throughout this year, these many difficult days, have been so many moments of kindness from others, joy found in simple exchanges and the gratitude of what has been lost and in all that remains.
So as we are on the cusp of Thanksgiving this week and as the holiday season moves into full swing, pause for a moment or two each day and reflect on all that you have to be grateful for right now. And then take the next step to express and share your thankfulness with others. This year, I do truly understand, vividly and deeply, how difficult the holidays will be with those who’ve gone on ahead. But they will be honored and remembered through simple acts of love that have been received and more importantly by simple acts yet to come.
Notice today and cast light.