Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful -vs- Grateful

Gratitude occurs for me the moment I recognize that I am blessed most likely beyond my current deserving...

     As this subject has come into my focus many times in the past, I am quick to discern between “thankful” and “grateful”. This time of year many people discuss and profess those things as well as people in their lives that they are thankful for. This is a good practice in acknowledging that a positive occurrence or person has appeared in our life and that we are aware and appreciative that this “transaction” (for lack of a better word for now) has taken place. We received, we thanked, and all is well and we remain in good spiritual standing. I wish we were collectively so inspired daily to inventory those people, places, and things that enrich our existence.

     Gratitude for me is much deeper. As I stated above it is a “moment”, spontaneous and benevolent, that overwhelms me into emotion. I now recognize that I have “received” something. It is not always tangible in nature as often for me it is a lesson or an awareness of something, perhaps even in the past, that I not only become thankful for, but a deeper “meaning” or “lesson” has just taken place, and many times, enduring and soul enriching.

     I think often people are asked to reflect on what they are grateful for this time of year especially, and I can name the times in the past where a state of gratitude has over taken me and put me in a state of a “divine nature”, but for me to ‘list’ gratitude or to describe it is elusive as I have yet to learn the words to dignify it in the way it deserves. I can usually describe the situation or what I may have received, but not so much the feeling, like describing love or bliss; it is difficult and often poetic as I venture to do so.

     The thing with being thankful is that I most often feel that for the things I receive or have in my life, I can more than likely repay in some gesture or service to others either now or down the line, but how does one ‘repay’ a gift from God? I feel that the “state” of gratitude is equivalent of such a gift coupled with the insight that I have been touched by the divine source of it’s origin. Often when this happens to me, not only do I recognize receiving something special, I intrinsically “know” that something special has just happened to me, and I have a respect that accompanies that awareness that is an experience in and of itself. I simply just “know” that I am in a state of gratitude that is a special gift for me to experience and I am to cherish the moment.

     Let me briefly share a comparison. I am “thankful” for my family, yet I am also “grateful” that of all the people that could bless my life daily and that I could be surrounded with, the one’s I have I often feel I do not deserve, yet they are an abundant source of joy for me. I am “thankful” I have a roof over my head. I am also “grateful” that my life’s path has provided me with the skills, wisdom and opportunities that allow me to serve others and in turn receive the fruits of my labor that I can share with those I love giving us shelter. I am “thankful” I will enjoy a wonderful feast on Thanksgiving with my family, and I am “grateful” that we can share fellowship and food that has been wonderfully bestowed to my family and I, when others suffer from hunger and loneliness. I still do not feel comfortable with my descriptions, but wanted to differentiate on what I am focusing on when describing the two separately.

    For me, I often find myself vacillating between the two properties of “acknowledgement” of receiving the blessing, and then when I am really “aware” and in tune with what I really have received or am in the presence of, heaven’s gift of “gratitude” is then bestowed upon me as well.

     This time of year, I hope all are able to show those whom are a blessing in their life how thankful they are and that the gratitude that accompanies that reflection allows them to be constantly reminded to do so.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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