Gratitude: Actions, Not Words

Gratitude , The Tall Ships' Races, Szczecin 2007Image via Wikipedia

Revised from November 8, 2010 post.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John F. Kennedy 
I don’t know where the year went and how it is that we have begun the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. The day is upon us and we are lost in the hub-bub of travel, family, overeating, Xmas shopping, etc., but I thought that it was a perfect opportunity to remember the true mean of thanks+giving.

Thanksgiving Day is a harvest festival celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Thanksgiving is a holiday to express thankfulness, gratitude, and appreciation to God, family and friends for which all have been blessed of material possessions and relationships. As I’ve gotten older and older, and holidays have become more and more commercialized, I know how easy it is for us to lose sight of the true meaning of the holidays (holy days) that we celebrate. I hope that this post serves two purposes: (1) that it forces you to consider all of your blessings, and (2) that you give some thought to how you can pay it forward and do whatever you can to express your gratitude to loved ones, friends and most importantly, strangers alike.

Even in the face of numerous health challenges, I have much to be grateful. Yet, when compared to the majority of this earth’s population, I am further humbled. The facts are troubling; “almost half the world — over three billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.” More chilling, 22,000 children around the world die every day. This is akin to 1 of our children dying every 4 seconds. Sadly, the biggest culprits leading to their deaths are poverty and hunger. In these United States, “the nation’s poverty rate jumped to 14.3% in 2009, its highest level since 1994, and the 43.6 million Americans in need is the highest number in 51 years of record-keeping.” I offer these facts because until recently, I just didn’t know the depth and breadth of the problem. Did you? 

In our unbelievably full, frantic, hectic, hurry up lives, the last thing that we need is one more thing to do. Perhaps, you are already doing your part to give thanks for the blessings that you’ve received. If so, thank you. For those who weren’t aware of the problem, you have an opportunity to make a difference–even a small one.  Remember, we believed that our one vote didn’t count, but hopefully, given the recent past, we’ve been disabused of that notion. A small contribution may seem useless, but that’s where you are so wrong. Alone, that small contribution may seem a pittance, but all those small contributions in tandem, they feed families, house the poor, provide clean water, build homes, provide health care, educate children and so much more. 

Giving money is not the only way to help. There are countless ways that each one of us might chose to express his or her gratitude and thanks, and I prefer to leave that decision to you. What matters is that you act, however you choose. Remember, trite it may be, but actions speak louder than words.
With thanks and gratitude, lydia marie 

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