I listened to a podcast this morning about gratitude. It was interesting because it got me thinking about the everyday actions and experiences that I just assume will be there tomorrow. It was interesting to me because I wasn’t thinking about gratitude, like making lists so I can track my gratitude tally, but the inner experience of grace.
Let’s face it; I’m a privileged while male. I grew up in the suburbs, have two parents who adore me, have an undergraduate degree and two graduate degrees. I live in a nice house, drive a car (although not new, works just fine), and have plenty of food and clothing.
On the other hand, as a therapist/case manager I have worked in health clinics that continually look for funding to stay afloat. These health centers serve uninsured and under insured individuals. I’ve worked in oncology psychosocial agencies that were able to provide their services free of charge because of the good nature of those who contribute to the cause.
The flip side is also true in my experience. I’ve volunteered at fundraisers that are trying to fund agencies that provide mammograms to minority women (who are often diagnosed late stage because of their lack of personal resources). I’ve seen bikers come out and ride for the opportunity to aid the under-served women so they don’t have to die.
Over the past six years I have traveled across the country for work. I’ve worked in upscale neighborhoods, but also neighborhoods that were dying right before my eyes. I’ve talked to individuals who came through the doors who were hallucinating, or looking for a place to get out of the cold. I worked and left Baltimore two weeks before the riots. I often passed the CVS store that was ransacked and looted. And today, I heard residents hardest hit in Chicago who are saying the President doesn’t need to send the Feds unless they’re brings resources like education and jobs.
My gratitude is that my view of the world is based on personal experience, not just the news. I’m grateful that friends and family understand my commitment to justice and fairness. I experience grace when I wake up and have options in my life that will feed my soul and serve my fellow human being.
How do you view gratitude? What does it look like each day that you open your eyes?