Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Gratitude - the forgotten virtue

Have you ever been puzzling over a problem and then come face to face with a sign that seemed to give you the answer? (See my post, A trip to the sea). The other day I was feeling vaguely irritated and I saw a T-shirt with the words ‘Control will be maintained for we will have order’. I smiled. Obviously the T-shirt’s message was tongue-in-cheek. But it made me realize I was lacking some order in my life. Then of course my eye caught another quote ‘Good order makes men bold, and confusion, cowards’ by Machiavelli. Perhaps it was a case of being receptive to change, a case of ‘when the pupil is ready the master appears’.
Last week, I happened to ask a colleague, who is always cheerful, where he thought the market was going. He surprised me by saying, with a smile, that wherever the market was going was alright with him because in any case he was a lot better off than most people in the world. He carried on in this vein, looking me straight in the eye with total sincerity and compassion and good cheer: we have a roof over our heads, we have a good job, we have money in the bank; we are really fortunate in this part of the world to have all that. We should count our blessings… be grateful… be happy. This reply was so unexpected that it almost seemed to me to come, not from my colleague, but from ‘upstairs’ via the medium of my colleague. Of course I agreed with him, a little half-heartedly, but the message had been delivered. I had mail. I had been told what was important and what was not.
Gratitude, along with humility, is a very unfashionable, almost forgotten virtue these days. And I am afraid to say that I must count myself among the forgetters. But it is one that we can't do without, as we shall see.
I did some research on what others have had to say on the subject and the importance of gratitude was further brought home to me. I will be posting a selection shortly. Here is one to meditate on for now. By the way, thank you Robert.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity... It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melodie Beattie


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1 comment:

Daniel Brenton said...

This and two more of your posts were selected to be part of the New Year's Eve edition of Gratitude Watch.

Thank you for promoting the value of gratitude.

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)
Kiyomizudera Temple has a large veranda looking out over Kyoto and beyond