Gratitude cont.

Momma’s surgery was an incredible success. The Doctors and Nurses just couldn’t believe how well she did (but they just don’t know her like I do.)

It was supposed to be a 2.5 hour surgery but her surgeon came bouncing into the room all smiles at the 1 hr mark to tell us the surgery was done and that he got the entire tumor and that she was awake, alert, and that we could go back to see her. Can you imagine being awake and alert after brain surgery?

So we walked back into SICU and there she was all, “Hey, my babies!”

To tell you what a comfort that was would be a dramatic understatement but there we were hugging and kissing on each other 1 hour after she had just had brain surgery.

We know we’ve got a few more climbs ahead of us but we’re climbing them together as a family and that makes all the difference.

We typically think of “Gratitude” as a verb. We express gratitude when someone does something for us or shows us kindness. We may show gratitude reciprocally.

You’ve done for me now I can will for you.

And this truly can be considered gratitude. However, it may not be the whole picture of Gratitude.

Gratitude, as expressed with reciprocity can sometimes be tainted with “need” or “expectation.”

Because you’ve done for me I now need to do for you.

But what can you do for someone who’s done more for you than you can ever repay?

Thoughtful expressions of gratitude are beautiful, to be sure. We do what we can. Give what we can and show our thankfulness as we’re able.

But what if Gratitude was more than an action? What if it was more than a temporal expression?

What if Gratitude was a state of being?

In our thoroughly modern lives it may be difficult to imagine being in a state of constant gratitude. We’ve got bills to pay and cars to keep up. We have jobs we have to show up for everyday and home repairs to make and it costs so much money. We have spouses to make happy and kids to look after and friendships to maintain. It all takes work.

And on top of all of that we strive for more: more friends, more lovers, more wealth, more bills, more, more, more.

If only I had more of this or that then I’d be happy. But would you? Would I?

The wealthy are never more or less happy than the poor and sometimes the more we have the more burdened we become.

Amongst my circle of friends I’m perhaps the least affluent. It’s taken me sometime to get used to that fact but when I stopped resisting that notion I realized that I wouldn’t want their problems if I could have wealth. No offense, guys. And I’m certain that they would say the same was true for them of me. There’s a quiet discomfort in not knowing if this bill or that bill will be paid.

So why do we always seem to want more? In his book, “How To Want What You Have,” Timothy Miller, PH.D. makes the assertion that our desire for “more” is Human Nature. I’m inclined to agree.

If we have more resources at our disposal we have better social bargaining power which is good for our tribe. Less need = less suffering.

That nature served us well 10,000 years ago. It built cities from tribes and nations from cities. And here we are 10,000 years later still fighting wars over our need for more. Perhaps that nature no longer serves us at all.

So, what if Gratitude were a state of being?

When we’re fixated on what we want more of we operate out of a place of poverty. And the universe doesn’t give to us what we want but rather it gives to us what we are. Be “poor,” receive poorly. Be “rich,” receive richly.

In be-ing Gratitude, we are thankful for what what we have. It’s enough. Sometimes more than enough.

In being gratitude, we are thankful for the “more” that arrives, never desiring it was more than it is.

In being gratitude, we recognize the miracle of, the blessing of every moment.

And in being Gratitude, we no longer have need of or expectation of reciprocity.

Because how blessed we are to have the things those bills come with. How blessed we are to have the spouse and friends we do for. How blessed we are to have family to care for. How blessed we are to have jobs that pay us for our time. How blessed we are to have homes that need occasional repair. How blessed we are to have health that sometimes needs tending.

How blessed we are indeed.

So, we have enough after all, don’t we?

Happiness should never be condition based upon our desires for more. It’s always a choice made to be made now.


Joshua T.