Thank You! (Once more with feeling)

Thank you. (Once more with feeling.) THANK YOU! I have received 2 speeding tickets in my life. One was while driving in Africa and the second was coming out of Petaluma CA. There is a zone that goes from 45 to 55 and I accelerated to 55 about 40 yards too soon. I was ticketed for going 54 in a 45. I liked getting the ticket in Africa; it cost me $7 and made for a great story. The ticket in Petaluma… not so much. I got a ticket for accelerating 40 yards too soon and it cost me $180 bucks.

When I was handed the Petaluma ticket, I did something weird. I said thank you. I said it before I could mean it, like a reflex. I said it like I was five and my mom had just told me to tell the nice officer thank you. I can promise you something, it was not gratitude; it was a thank you masquerading as gratitude. Is it possible that we have been trained to have “thank you” masquerade as gratitude in our lives?

“Say thank you.” This is what most parents tell their kids. Make sure you tell grandma thank you for the orange sweater from 1971. Make sure you tell the customer thank you, no matter how rude they were in line. Make sure you say thank you. You actually don’t have to mean it, just say it like you do. So, if gratitude gets such a great start in our lives, why does it have such a lousy presence?

Do you want to know important is gratitude in a person’s life? Consider this, when GRATITUDE goes missing in a persons heart a lot of other pivotal traits go missing too. I believe that without gratitude it is impossible to know full joy, live satisfied, love generously and see life realistically. Gratitude is one of those attitudes upon which most other attitudes depend.

I recently struck up a conversation with a guy at a local coffee shop. As we talked he made several comments relating to gratitude. “I am just grateful I still have a job.” “I am grateful I still have a car.”  “I am grateful I can still get a cup of coffee.”   After a bit more conversation, I asked who he was grateful to. He sat stunned for a few minutes. “I don’t really know,” he said. Many of us are like this guy in the coffee shop. Grateful for something but not sure who were grateful to.

A repeated sentence in the bible is “give thanks to the LORD.” Is it possible that God knows that unless we are grateful TO God that being grateful for something will never be the answer to living a life of Gratitude? Gratitude that is primarily based upon what I have will always have a hard time sticking around and becoming my character. So as you head into this amazing season of reflection and gratitude, spend some time thanking GOD because of WHO He is. This is a gratitude you can have regardless of your circumstances. Off… we go now.

~ by OFF we go now on December 2, 2010.

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