How to live with gratitude.

That’s an attention-grabbing headline, isn’t it? It would be just a headline if I hadn’t recently had a hospital conversation with Jim.

Jim’s been in and out of the hospital. He has good support from his own pastor, so I didn’t stop in his room. Even though he looked up when  I walked past, I went into the stairwell and down three steps. And stopped.

I knew I had to go back.  I’m grateful that I did.

I introduced myself. We chatted about some people and work that we have in common. And then he said, “I thank people for their service.”

I waited.  He continued: “The other day, I thanked the person who changed the sheets on my bed. She said, ‘no one ever thanked me for that.’”

We talked about the way that his words shaped her day.

“I thank everyone who comes in to help me,” he said. “Everyone.”

Thanks

One time Paul was talking about relating to each other in community. He talked about putting on compassion like a cloak, along with kindness and humility and gentleness. He talked about loving one another. He mentioned the importance of forgiveness. And then he says, simply, “And be thankful.”

 

We talk often about gratitude, about waking up and going to sleep thinking about something we are grateful for. But in this text I think that Paul is not talking just about an attitude, just about an intention. I think he may be saying, “and thank people.” For doing special things, yes. But also for doing things that are part of the job, part of the relationship, part of life. It’s an opportunity to express our awareness that the other person is a person.

As I walked out of his room, Jim said, “Thank you for your service.” I knew he would. But I smiled anyway. Because I think he actually means it every time he says it.

And maybe we can, too.

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

2 thoughts on “How to live with gratitude.

  1. Thank you, Jon… You are a blessing! Phil.1:2-3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

    3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, (and your sweet Nance).

    Liked by 1 person

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