To my way of thinking, the two most important words in anyone’s vocabulary. So much so, that I have the kanji symbols tattooed on my forearm as a reminder. Two symbols for Gratitude – because there’s different kinds and both are equally important. (courtesy thankfulness and deeper appreciation)
A few years ago, one of my daughter’s classmates was killed in a drunk driving accident. (Another young person was killed recently in another accident see my post yesterday). The school opened up its doors for the students and parents that Saturday and I accompanied my daughter. There was such an outpouring of grief, love, and support for the young man. But I also noticed a lone woman making her way through the crowd and we stopped to talk for a bit.
She had a story to tell, sad but uplifting – and a gift. Her daughter had been killed in an auto accident several years before. Right down the street from the high school. I remembered the incident, because this was the last time a local young person had been tragically lost. She said she was there to offer her support as someone who had been through this “worst of times.” And then, she began to speak animatedly about the importance of love and gratitude in life. She spoke at some length about a study done regarding frozen water crystals and the influence of both positive and negative words taped to the containers. Words like hope, faith, charity, happiness had beautifully formed crystals. Hate, war, despair – malformed ones. But the most beautiful crystal formations were “saved” for the words “Love” and “Gratitude.” http://tusitalatom.hubpages.com/hub/Mind-Over-Matter-Ice-Crystals-and-Doctor-Masuro-Emoto She proceeded to give me a button that said “I love my Dad.” ( I had not told her I’d recently lost him, by the way) and a rubber stretchy bracelet with the words love and gratitude on them. I stood in awe of this woman as she spoke – she had been able to use her love and gratitude to move forward and live with something that most of us will hopefully never have to handle. After a few minutes more conversation she moved off into the crowd. And I was left there – stunned.
Why is Love so important? We can’t survive without it folks, period. We form attachments for both physical and psychological survival. We have to have connections with others in order to be healthy and happy. “To love and be loved in return is the greatest joy on earth.” Its what sets us apart from all the other species on the planet. The Christian Bible mentions love over 600 times. It was that important when it was written and remains so today. Jesus’ greatest command to his followers was and is “Love one Another!.” We all prosper when we love – whether it’s romantic love, platonic, or altruistic. All good things flow from it. And Gratitude – what’s the big deal? Appreciation for not only the material things you are given; but also the things that can’t be quantified. Like friends, family, personal talent. Any of these can be lost in the proverbial blink of an eye. Being grateful is important because it shows that we can be selfless. Selfishness is one of the biggest problems in the world today. Everything is about “me” and getting more stuff for “me”. Wars are started because of greed and selfishness. Harmful words and even blows are exchanged because we aren’t thinking of anyone but ourselves. People are murdered every day for what’s in their wallet. When we are grateful for what we have, we lose envy – and become less selfish. Its a win/win. I decided to remind myself of these things daily and tangibly.
So I sit and reflect today. Thinking about the woman I met those few years ago. I remain amazed that she can make her daughter’s legacy a positive one by spreading the word(s). I can’t remember her name, but I will always be thankful God put her in my path that day.