Nurturing Gratitude is What Life is About
When I was in my twenties, I supplemented my income by painting apartments and houses. I often worked with an older gentleman by the name of Doug. Doug didn’t have much of a formal education, but he oozed common sense and he knew about nurturing gratitude. He had a great attitude and a quick wit. I enjoyed working with him. When anyone asked how he was doing, his signature line was “I got no problems”. You see, Doug was a Vietnam vet and had seen some bad things. He used those memories as proof that, by comparison, his current situation was amazingly good.
One day I was whining to him about some minor issue when he stopped me in mid-sentence and said “Dave…quit complaining…you got no problems worth worrying about. Suck it up and enjoy the day.” From time to time, for years after that day I would hear his words, but they nearly faded from my memory completely…until earlier this week.
After a rushed lunch, I was on my way back to the office to get some closure on several projects before my trip back east. I had a ton of stuff on my mind and I was feeling a bit stressed and…quite frankly…I was extremely grumpy. As I passed a local elementary school I noticed two kids, a boy and a girl looking through a chain linked fence. The boy was waving to cars and being completely goofy. The girl had an ear to ear smile…and expression of pure bliss. You could tell that they were enjoying each other’s company and having a blast. What made the moment extra special to me was that the girl was a quadriplegic. I am not sure if I am being politically correct here, but I have to say that seeing her, happy as can be, really put things into perspective. There she was…faced with a whole host of present and future challenges that I couldn’t possibly understand….. but absolutely joyous none-the-less. She was nurturing gratitude!
That moment gave me two instant takeaways.
#1. “I got no problems.” Life is about nurturing gratitude.
#2. “Who can I make smile from ear to ear?” I should try to live with a sense of empathy and compassion.