I, like most people, have moments when just the thought of the love we have received is enough to get us through a difficult day. Life happens and, as such, there are times when we feel lonely although we are surrounded by many; sad although we have so many things that make us happy; and unloved although we know that to be the furthest thing from the truth. When I have these occasional moments, I stop, think about all that is good in my life (and even in the worst of times, quite honestly it’s a lot!) and almost spontaneously a wide smile instinctively envelops my face. The reason is simple…it’s LOVE!
Ask yourself, what is more important? To value what you have or to value what you do not have? Think about it for a moment. Gratitude is valuing what you have and ambition is valuing what you may or may not have in the future. If you drown the voice of gratitude in the roars of your ambitions, all you will be left with is a great deal of noise and no music. Why? Because often ambitions are endless, they are in multiple and they are not cohesive whereas gratitude is the collective response to everything life has given you, everything you already have. Don’t get me wrong, having ambitions is a good thing. It keeps us moving forward and allows us to reach our full potential. But be sure your ambitions never overshadow what you’ve already accomplished and what you’ve already been blessed to receive.
Part of being grateful is showing your gratitude. You can demonstrate gratitude by being generous. Volunteer in your community, donate canned goods or clothing and do anything you can to help those who are less fortunate. You can also be a generous friend, son/daughter, sibling or spouse by doing nice things for the important people in your life. Make it a habit to always say “thank you”. You should always say “thank you,” whether you’re thanking your local barista for an amazing cup of coffee or you’re thanking your father for always being there for you. Try to say “thank you” for something different at least five times a day!
Our work and sacrifice in life is grounded in love, by which I mean the capacity to extend ourselves for the sake of another person’s growth. Our work in the community stretches us to understand, respect and support each other, teaching us why learning to love is one of the most demanding disciplines we can choose.
May we love as if our lives and our world depend on it.
How do you show gratitude and love in your community? Share with us in the comments section below.