Thursday, 24 November 2011


“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” - John F. Kennedy

Thank you. Thanks! I’m indebted to you. I am grateful. Simple words, some would say formulaic and conventional, added to our conversation to bulk it up. Or maybe automatically uttered – a conditioned reflex with some of us. Of the same ilk as: Pardon me, sorry, my apologies… The cynical would classify these utterances as hollow niceties mumbled without conscious effort or thought, white lies of circumstances, a concession to our social instinct that allow us to live with others of our kind in relative quietude.

And yet, I am hearing the words “thank you” less and less nowadays. With some people I’m lucky to get a grunt in place of thanks. With others, a more polite one would say, “cheers” to replace the word “thanks”. I want to hear the word thank you as much as I say it, not because I expect people to feel gratitude and express it to me in repayment for what I have done, but perhaps because uttering sincere thanks is an acknowledgement that ingratitude is a vile and uncivilised offence, a stain on one’s character, a wet sponge that rubs out totally one’s qualifications, education, breeding.

How many things in our everyday life we have that we should be grateful for! The list goes on and on… Speaking for myself, I realise that I am one of the privileged few that enjoys a comfortable life, has food on the table every day, a shelter over my head, a bed to lie down upon at night. I am grateful for the people around me who love and whom I can love back, my friends to whom I can turn when in need, with whom I can rejoice for my own or their successes, celebrate their or my achievements. I thank life for all that.

I am indebted to my family that raised and educated me, instilling in me an appreciation of beauty, a respect for my fellow human beings, tolerance for others who are unlike me, who may differ in their beliefs or have different faiths. I am grateful for being able to hear music, see the wonders of the world, admire what humans have wrought, enjoy the blessed routine of everyday life.

I thank providence for my job, my ability to earn enough to live comfortably. To work at something that fulfils me and allows me to use my talents. A job that helps me make the world a better place. I am grateful for my co-workers, my boss, my colleagues working in the same field – some of them on the other side of the world – who give me their support when I need it. I am grateful for all that and more.

Americans celebrate Thanksgiving today, and for that they should be grateful. A day set aside specially to say thanks. A beautiful holiday when families gather, sit around a table and join hands to be grateful for all the things that life has given them. And not only things! Perhaps even more than things, a day to be grateful for the presence of each other around that table that is laden with the fruits of the earth and people’s toil.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it formally as a Public Holiday. To all others, why not celebrate it within your heart. Stop, think of all that you are grateful for and go say thank you to someone who is special to you…

1 comment:

  1. This is beautiful Nick! I do hope you will participate in the Gratitude Quilt this year, by opening a new word doc on your computer (or taking out a sheet of paper and a pen). Close your eyes. Place one hand on your heart, then your other hand over that, giving yourself a gentle hug. Breathe into and out through the center of your heart for several breaths. Now, exhale slowly. Inhale deeply. Exhale again… type or write whatever you are most thankful for in that moment. Do not edit just let the words flow. There is no need to translate into English if that is not your native tongue. Copy and paste the words into an email and send them to me by November 24th so I have time to "stitch" out words together. Please type the words "Gratitude Quilt" in the subject line. By doing the practice in this way, the gratitude is fresh and true to what you are feeling in a particular moment in time. Thanks for pointing me to your post about gratitude. I look forward for your little "patch" in the quilt:-)