New Year greetings from the frigid Midwest. Another arctic cold front has swept down upon our landscape and has caused temperatures to plummet. When we have periods of cold such as now, I am most grateful for a warm home and car and coats and gloves. Hot meals and coffee help, too, as do caring people who express warmth with a smile, a hug or a hand shake. Kind words spoken with sincerity certainly spice up a dreary day.
Personally, I have been in a funk for the past month due to a variety of reasons: long work days and related stress, lack of sunshine, and the gnawing feeling that I was meant for something more than what I am currently doing. I have noticed that one of the first things to suffer during these morose times is my creativity. Hence, I haven’t posted for a while. So, I really appreciate you visiting my site at this time.
I have a couple of short stories to share which reveal people full of gratitude. My hope is that by sharing other’s thankfulness, we will become more grateful for our blessings.
Recently, I was the recipient of someone’s gratitude whom I didn’t know, but would like to. The gratitude was not for me, but for something far better. Cheryl and I were at a local restaurant with three other couples. The server was a pleasant gal from Bogotá, Columbia, South America. I am always intrigued by accents and tried to guess her native country. I didn’t guess correctly, but the interaction led to a most startling and beneficial discussion, albeit brief since she was working.
As discussions often go, one question and response lead to another, and another. My companions were also very interested in what we learned in such a brief time. As our server, Selena*, spoke of her coming to America she shared how her father had been shot in the head by a drug cartel member. He survived, but lives in a walking semi-vegetative state. Her mother runs the small propane business once ran by her father. She makes ends meet for them. Due to the seriousness of the violence by the drug cartels in the area of her native city, Selena came to America to receive her secondary education. She ended up in Kansas City and began attending college. As she spoke to us of her recent trials, she showed no self-pity. In fact, her voice became stronger and more impassioned as she spoke of the great opportunity she was given in our country. Suddenly, Selena’s voice came to a crescendo as she stated, “God bless America!”. She then qualified her display of sincere gratitude by acknowledging that many say those words, but don’t really mean them. She wanted us to know that she most definitely meant them. And, she made a point of telling us that she didn’t want or expect entitlements, but was more than willing to earn her way through the new life she has discovered in our country and in our city.
She then continued to serve us in a very efficient and self-assured manner. Needless to say, we were touched by this lovely person who could have easily expressed anger, fear or a host of negative emotions, yet she proclaimed convictions that I want to carry with me daily such as courage, perseverance and thankfulness. I am grateful for Selena (*not her real name) as she has reminded me that gratitude should not be limited to those who seem to have it all. In her case, she does have all that is necessary to live abundantly. And, so do I. May we all be so fortunate.
My other story focus’ on a gentleman we met while on vacation in Mexico. Carlos is the general manager for the Marriott’s five or six restaurants at this facility. Carlos smiled a lot and made a point of looking for us each morning as we had our breakfast. He told us that he has worked for Marriott for twenty-plus years and has been able to put his kids through college because of his vocation. He loves his job and the company he works for. He loves life as is evidenced by his graciousness and willingness to assist us in any way while we visited. I am proud to have had our photo taken with this wonderful man.
I hope these simple stories help to illuminate your lives with a brighter perspective. These two gracious people have certainly done that for Cheryl and me. I am reminded that gratitude starts with a positive attitude. The ‘g’ is tacked onto the beginning of attitude to emphasize this dynamic. Selena exhibited a soul-deep joy that she couldn’t keep down. Her cup ran over and we felt her gratitude pour over us. Carlos’ enthusiasm and willingness to bless us was contagious. How wonderful it could be / would be if I lived life with the same zest as they do. Just think of how many people would be encouraged by my cheerful heart. The thought of such a thing brings a smile to my somewhat sullen face and a tear of joy to my eye. I am blessed and want to be a blessing to others. With the Lord’s help, this is what I hope to become.
Happy New Year Everyone !