Being grateful is cultivated every day, although advertising insists on inventing days to express it. Do not make the word “thank you” a mere formality before others.
It’s Saturday night and Pedro’s mother-in-law has a fever. She knows that in a while she has to be on her feet, because there are things pending at home. But the fever does not decrease, from time to time she feels that her body hurts, she perspires, the sheets stick to her body. The tongue sticks to the palate. There is no herb to lower fever. Pedro approaches the bed and kisses his mother-in-law, and notices that he is worse. From the corner of his eye he looks at Jesus, he doesn’t say anything, Jesus doesn’t need it, he knows very well that this fever needs his voice to go away. He approaches the bed, places his hands on the woman’s head, who is about to faint. Infinite compassion runs through the room. Bow your head, dialogue with the Father. After the “Amen” Pedro’s mother-in-law gets out of bed as if she had nothing. She runs to the kitchen, spreads flour on the table while singing a hymn, kneads one of those loaves that are delicious.
Reasons to be grateful
Being grateful is a gift that is cultivated on a daily basis, although advertising insists on inventing days to express it. I have no idea what your way of showing your appreciation to those who take care of you is like, but to give thanks once a year is to pigeonhole love in an almanac space; is reducing to twenty-four hours a feeling that encloses sleepless nights, pats on the back, bear hugs, reassuring looks, hot soups for those winter days, surprise ice creams after a failure, seductive kisses in the middle of the square. I don’t know, maybe you have your own list of reasons to be grateful to your family, to your husband, to your children … Mine include cat purrs, party dog licks, fresh sprouts on the lemon tree, smiles from school children Santa Teresita, emails from grateful readers and a marseille bread with butter.
Gratitude gives meaning to life and shine to memory
And if you have not wondered about your reasons, take a pencil and do an exercise: go through each corner of the house, pass your memory through the different objects, then let each one get a sound, an image, a face and a sacrifice. Do the same with your children, go at night when they are asleep and travel with your soul those moments that have the aroma of particular treasures. Mechanizing gratitude is emptying it of meanings and silencing memory.
Look at the hands of your husband, your mother, your father, your other relatives, and find in each fold a reason to feel grateful. Those hands kneaded the dough of your life, they placed the yeast that made your existence ferment.
Don’t think you have what you deserve
Each of those reasons is a miracle in someone’s hands. Don’t tell me you haven’t had an amazing life, that it has nothing to do with a bank account or a heavenly vacation. Don’t go through life believing that what you have is what you should have, because that makes you stupid; turn off the water tap and imagine that you live in Africa, gather the food scraps and think of the Gaza Strip, look at your most worn clothes and review the scenes of the streets of India. Find out that one billion people in the world live in extreme poverty. Imagine the millions who don’t have a hug at night or even someone to hand them a cold cloth when the fever burns in the spirit.
Be aware of where you have
Start collecting, like children, papers with everything that comes into your life, make an album of gratitude. In some he writes things like “Scented clothes,” “Warm bed,” “Grandma’s visit,” “Pharmacy two blocks away.”
Do not try to count all the favors received in one day, because you will have to change the hard drive of your computer, but at least try to retain the ones that taste like miracles. Don’t make the word “thank you” a mere formal formality before others, let it be a praise from your full heart.