“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude.” — A.A. Milne, Winnie The Pooh
Around this time of year, we realize we should be extra grateful or extra thankful. We know that Thanksgiving is just one day, but we should should gratitude 365 days of the year. We also tend to list what we are thankful for, sometimes without really thinking it through. I am guilty of this and throughout the day I have my mantras that I say to myself to keep my in the right frame of mind: “I am thankful for my health, I am thankful for my family, I am thankful to be a mother, I am thankful for my husband, I am thankful for my job. Be nice, be courageous, be kind.” However, throughout the day I am also presented with unexpected moments of gratitude. Moments where I think “Wow, I need be thankful.”
There are times when life presents you with moments and you instantly know that you should be thankful or grateful for what you have. In my line of work, I cross paths with on average 300-800 people a day. That is nearly 1,000 times a day I could have some kind of impact, no matter how tiny or insignificant, on someones life and vice versa! It also shows me daily, how much I have to be grateful for, to be thankful for, and how blessed I should feel.
— As I’m standing where I am, I see a woman tearing up. I walk past her a few times, and just smile. I watch her wipe away her tears and wonder what is the matter. I walk into the restroom, grab a stack of kleenex and hand it to her as I walk by. I quickly tell her, “If there’s anything I can do for you, please let me know.” No questions asked. It’s none of my business. Later during the day, she grabs my arm as I set down her drink and she says “Thank you for the tissues, I just dropped my daughter off for her freshman year at college.” As a mom, my heart broke for her. “It’s so tough for me because we are such a tight knit family, she’s so far away from home, and…” I finished her sentence, “It’s not like she can hop on a train and come home for the weekend.” “I totally understand, I told her, It will get better, and your relationship will be stronger because you let her go.” It was in that moment that I was instantly thankful for her comment. My son is only 3, but who knows what kind of hot mess I’ll be if my little guy decides to go to school far away from home! A wreck, that’s what kind of mess I’ll be. I get it, that will be in another 15 years, but it was in that moment that I was thankful to have the time I spend with my son, every – single – day.
— As I am handing out drinks I notice an older woman tearing up. Later on during the day I strike up a conversation with her and she tells me, “This is one of my daughters, we’re brining home her daddy for the last time.” I instantly knew what she meant and I offered my condolences. It was in that time I spent talking to her that I was grateful to still have my grandfather around. Some people don’t even have their fathers, and here I am able to go home and talk to my grandfather.
— Every morning I take my son to school the same way. And every morning for the past 2 months I see the same man standing on the side of the road with a sign “anything helps.” I’ve walked by him a few times and gave him some spare change. (I honestly don’t carry any cash with me.) And although, I’ve never spoken to him, It always humbles. I am so thankful that I am able to provide the necessities and MORE for my family.
— I see an two older women traveling together. As I’m serving them, I start a conversation with them and they tell me “We are sisters, and we are finally living our dream after nearly 40 years. We are retiring in Hawaii on The Big Island.” It was in that moment that I was so grateful to live in Hawaii. The cost of living is high, we complain about the heat and traffic. But to others, they only see paradise. It made me so grateful to be living in a place where people would give ANYTHING to live.
These are only 4 instances of many where I choose to be thankful, grateful and humble for what I have. It’s not hard to be grateful when you have an open mind and an open heart. When you are willing to see those moments they will happen.
What’s your unexpected moment of gratitude?