Curations: Gratitude and Generosity
It is a season of thanksgiving (and Thanksgiving), so why not offer a little reflection on gratitude.
Of course, it is always good to have a set aside time to give thanks, gratitude could (and should!) be cultivated in all seasons and every day. After all, the Apostle Paul instructs the Thessalonian church to "give thanks in all circumstances" (not for all circumstances, because we wouldn't be thankful for violence and war and injustice and evil and the like...but we can strive to give thanks in all circumstances).
A Lakota author, Doug Good Feather, shares indigenous wisdom as a way of healing the world, and writes that gratitude is always available to us:
Each and every morning offers us a chance to start anew, fresh, and to begin again. Each morning when we wake—should we choose to listen—is a message from the Creator to remember the privilege we were given of waking up. It’s a reminder to get up and prepare our self, to honor our self, to go out into the world, to connect with Mother Earth and the hearts of other beings, to inspire and encourage those who cross our paths, and most importantly, to enjoy life.
Or, to quote the British poet Wilfrid Scawen Blunt,
If gratitude a poor man’s virtue is, ’Tis one at least my sick soul can afford. Bankrupt I am of all youth’s charities, But not of thanks. No. Thanks be to the Lord...
Gratitude costs us nothing! Except, perhaps, an intentional attentiveness to the blessings of each moment, each day, each person, each life.
Then again, maybe it will cost us, because gratitude naturally leads to generosity. As Good Feather points out,
Gratitude and generosity are similar virtues, but they differ in that gratitude is an internal characteristic and generosity is our external expression of our sense of gratitude. Basically, gratitude is how we feel, and generosity is how we express that feeling out in the world...
As we celebrate a Day of Thanksgiving, let's also resolve to be more purposeful and intentional in cultivating gratitude. And as that gratitude flows outward in generosity, perhaps we can be the source of someone else's gratitude, too!