It doesn’t take much to show kindness and express gratitude. We are entering the holiday season with gusto this year. I’m hearing Christmas music in retail stores, seeing decorations going up everywhere. But the holiday season is so much more than the lights, sounds, and traditions. It’s a time of being grateful and showing others you really do care. How creative can we get in expressing our thanks, our gratitude, not only to God but to our neighbors, friends, and family?
It astounds me how often people let great opportunities pass them by, when a simple smile and a heartfelt “Thank you!” could have changed the day for someone in passing.
Yesterday, I was a bit delayed in seeing a pedestrian ready to cross in front of me at a nearby store. As soon as I saw him, I stopped and let him cross, but he apparently thought I was about to run him down as he gave me a dirty look and crossed the road shaking his head and mumbling ….probably not-so-nice words…with a scowl on his face. Seriously? My mother-in-law, whom I adored, used to comment about “old people” that they became more of who they really are as they age. I have thought of her remark many, many times as I encounter surly, entitled, and impatient people who find it hard to say kind words, give a smile or compliment.
A time for gratitude. We are coming out from under almost two years of isolation, illnesses, political and social upheaval… and people are beginning to come together again.
(Caveat: the opinions expressed in this blog…and anything I write… is solely the opinion of the writer!)
I find there are two camps of people:
People who are so grateful for all they have learned during the pandemic, that they find every way possible to give gratitude for those who serve us daily, whether at home, in the office, in the grocery store, or restaurant. They tip generously, show patience when their food isn’t served in record time due to being short-staffed, overlook mistakes and give a smile and affirmation to others who are trying hard to please.
Those who feel they have been given a raw deal in this world and they want everyone to know how miserable they are. They are victims and they don’t mind sharing their victimization with everyone. They are impatient with others, often giving demands rather than praise, and rarely give a smile.
Ever heard the sayings, “Kill them with kindness?” or “Go the extra mile?” Although I think I am preaching to the choir here…knowing those who are reading this blog are not in the second camp… I want to send out a challenge during this holiday season to see how creative you can be with expressing your gratitude for all you have been given. It isn’t hard. Sending a card or note, even a text message to say, “I’m thinking of you and wanted you to know I care!” or picking up a small gift to say, “You came to mind when I saw this!” can brighten up someone’s day.
I have a dear friend in Indiana who is 87 years old and is having many health concerns including the ability to breathe. She can barely walk from the shower to the bed without becoming out of breath. She told me this week how she has become so aware of how God has blessed her all these years with BREATH. Something we take for granted and, yet is so vital to our very being. This friend can find the silver lining in the worst situations and she attracts others like a magnet because they see the light in her countenance and feel love in her words.
I have said before that I want to be a light to others. It isn’t hard at all. If I allow myself to be pulled into negativity like a net of victimization, I can quickly become ensnared and I refuse to let that happen. Sometimes it takes some creative conversations to turn someone around to see a bright side to a situation, but it can be done…with patience…and by example.
Recently I went to the optical department where I had purchased new glasses months ago. It became apparent to me the lenses were made incorrectly and that is why I couldn’t see well in them. It was the fault of the store. Long story short, before I left the store, I thought the lady who waited on me was going to follow me home! She was my new friend! In a week, I will have new lenses replaced at no cost and she admitted their mistake. I had to wonder what would have happened had I come to her with a scowl and harsh words that would put her immediately on the defensive. Kind words. It’s not too much to ask.
Let’s all express gratitude in creative ways that makes an impact on everyone around us and says, “I care!” I think our holiday season will be greatly enhanced and our countenance will exclaim, JOY TO THE WORLD!