As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Today many of us in the United States will sit around our tables with our beloved family and friends and share what we are thankful for this year. We will probably express gratitude for the love that is in our life, our health, the roofs over our heads and many other blessings. The question is, when we get up from the table, what will we do with our appreciation? How will we live by our attitude of gratitude as Kennedy suggests?
I think walking out our gratitude is more than buying great holiday gifts for the people we love, sending out cards or baking cookies. It is more than enjoying the holiday season and receiving the feeling of goodwill. While all those are good, I think living a life of gratitude is about transforming our appreciation into motivation to help other people without expectation of anything in return.
I loved the 2000 movie “Pay it Forward” (click to see clip) which is about a young boy’s attempts to make the world a better place. His theory is if he does something really big to help 3 people, instead of them paying him back, they are to pay it forward and help three others. After spending my life as a idealist like this young boy, I know now that it is not in a single individual’s power to change the entire world. The problem is too big. BUT, it is possible to make a difference in the lives of those around us.
For example, a young boy finds a bunch of starfish on the beach. One by one he starts to throw them back. When asked why he is doing this, because there is no way he can help all of them, the boy simply says after throwing a starfish into the ocean, “It made a difference for that one.”
Enjoy your turkey and thank God for your health, family and friends. And every time you ponder your blessings, consider how you can pay it forward.
© Betsy Jordyn 2010. All rights reserved.