Without Gratitude I Have Nothing

In one of the richest communities on earth, from one of the richest people on the planet, I heard this story.

He went on a medical mission trip to a village in Africa. Using his hard-earned vacation time, he paid for the trip and didn’t charge anyone a dime. They provided free modern medical care at no charge to people who were dying without it.

There he met a woman he would never forget.

She had an important job and she took it seriously. People’s lives depended on her. She worked from dawn until dark in searing heat and miserable conditions, rain or shine, day in and day out.

She never took a vacation. She never asked for a promotion. She was inventive and creative. In other circumstances and in other places she would be hailed as an artist or a saint.

What Did She Do?

She lived in a round dirt-floored hut with ten people. Every day she took whatever ingredients that could be found and cooked for them. She had a fire in the center of the hut below the ventilation hole in the roof. Each day she built the fire from ashes, hauled water and cooked for ten. She smiled a lot and never once complained.

Her stove was a large tin can turned upside down.

She was grateful for the can.

My friend said that the next time his wife got tired of her restaurant-quality, commercial-grade kitchen and wanted to change the marble counter tops, he was going to give her a brand new tin can.

If We Take It For Granted, Does It Exist?

I live a short distance and several million dollars away from the man who told this story yet I am still in one of the richest places on earth. I never think about my microwave or my Mr Coffee cappuccino maker. I do not think fondly about tin cans.

When I get in my SUV I see the wear and rust and the high mileage. I never remember that it’s paid for and that it has never let me down. It’s too easy to see the brand new model passing me on the highway.

I see what I don’t have. What can make me see what I do have?

The Gratitude Cure

Gratitude cures blessing-blindness. It allows me to see what I have without having to lose it. I’d rather see it and still keep it. I’d rather be thankful for blessings I have right here than to dream about someone else’s blessing that I don’t have.

So, why don’t I do it?

It’s because my brain is overloaded with things to do. My brain looks at the things that don’t change in my life and say,”Well, I know where that is. I can move on to more important things.” Brains are like that. Because there is never enough brain to go around. At least for me.

So, how do I fool my brain into seeing what’s right in front of me? I have to practice gratitude. I have to make a habit out of taking a moment to see the fantastic things that are here and now.

It’s a little hard because my efficient brain doesn’t want to do it. But the reward is bigger than it would seem.

I Am Suddenly Rich

Now that I can see my blessings it changes me. I am happier than I was. I don’t get jealous as easily. I don’t hunger for things I don’t have. I am set free from the power of commercials that turn up my selfishness and make me feel bad about myself.

I become a marketer’s nightmare – a satisfied man.

I can afford to be generous! I can give more of my time and talents to others instead of guarding my time for myself. I can suddenly see the surplus in my life and share it – and I’m not just talking about money.

I Am Loved

I can see the love in my life. I’ve always been loved. I’ve never been without love. This is not the case for everyone. As a result I can be more loving to others.

I can give love and you know what that means. I get more love in return. For which I can be thankful.

I Am Talented

When I look at what I can do instead of looking at all the things other talented people can do that I can’t, I see a different me. I see that the most talented person is usually not here where I am. Which means my talent is valuable here and now.

I’m not Beyonce but I can sing. I’m not Hemingway but I can write. I’m not B.B. King but I can play guitar. I’m not Frank Lloyd Wright but I can help build something. I’m not Michael Jackson but I can dance. Well, okay, I really can’t dance but you get the idea.

If I only look at what I can’t do then I’ll never see my own unique abilities and will never have the confidence to use them. I’ll never get to contribute to the world. My purpose will be squelched and my life made smaller.

I Am Tall

I never notice that I’m tall but the other day in a store a woman in a motorized wheel chair asked me to hand her something from the top shelf. She was trying to buy a surprise birthday present for her husband, so he wasn’t there to help.

I don’t normally feel tall and strong and healthy but I really am. Did I mention good looking? Maybe I shouldn’t push it.

I Am Here

Probably the most important thing I can see is that I’m here now. I look at things differently. I have gifts and talents. I am unique.

That means there’s something, right here, right now, that only I can do. And if I don’t do it then it just won’t get done. Or it won’t get done as well.

When so many people overlook me it’s easy to overlook myself. I should be grateful that I’m here in this place, at this moment. I should be thankful for the opportunities I have to make a difference.

By the way, you should be thankful too, which leads me to . . .

I Am Appreciative

When I can see the blessings I have then I’m free to look at others differently. They have blessings and gifts and abilities, too!

When I am thankful I can actually see YOU better. It makes it easier to see the good in you rather than falsely magnify a shortcoming to make myself feel better about my meager life.

I don’t have a meager life when I’m grateful. I have an abundant life.

All This From A Smile

This great change in my life all happened because a woman in a hut in a village far away smiled and didn’t complain. She was grateful enough to see her blessings. It changed one man’s life. He told me about it. Now I’m telling you.

She has no idea what she started. I’m smiling right now.

Who knows where you will take it?


Photo Credit: **Mark** via Compfight cc