I read somewhere, a long time ago, that the more gratitude you have in your heart towards every little kindness, love, compassion, joy, blessing etc., the higher the altitude your blessings will reach. In other words, learn to count your blessings, not so that you have something to be boastful for, but that you know what to be thankful for.
Our world is full of all manner of heartbreaking things; things that constantly make you think it’s time to pack up this entire world and throw it in the dustbin of eternity or into some blazing fire. Some things that you see happen just don’t make rational sense, still, they keep happening and more and more people are getting caught up in the emotions of such events. But what about being grateful for the little things that define certain moments for us? It’s not always gloom and doom, I think.
I recently saw this trending video of a cute little Afrikan boy that showed clearly what is contained in a heart of gratitude. In the video this little boy who, based on his size, I will assume should be about three or four years old, was among other kids in a queue. They were being served food. When he was served his meal of rice and beans, he bent his knees in gratitude to the person that served him. He walked away gently carrying his food, placed the plate of food on a stone veranda, placed his tiny palms together, and said an inaudible prayer of thanks. It was such a beauty to watch that great little man do that.
I am unaware of the situation behind that queue and the serving of food, but that is irrelevant, as the beautiful lesson of gratitude has been clearly shared.
I do not know if this is a blessing or a curse, but I think we have somehow come to an age where we now have more “smart” kids speaking with all forms of foreign accents and tearing the sciences apart. Smart computer kids who are lacking in the basic principles of wisdom and gratitude. It’s an age that is so steeped in the ‘me, myself and I’ attitude based on some twisted mindset of class and privilege. I see it everywhere and I am sure you do too. And like I said already, I really do not know if this is a blessing or a curse to have such a generation of young and even older youths who have imbibed too much of the American self-centeredness culture that does not care about others, as long as they are cool. I think it’s demeaning and very destructive of the future, to say the least.
So, I looked at that little man in that video doing two things: Saying thank you to the person that served him food and saying thank you to the Divine Presence from whom all things came, including the plate of food in his hands.
Now let me do a little breakdown of both things I just mentioned.
Gratitude to the person that serves
One thing is for sure, service to others is not a walk in the park, especially when you have to deal with people whose hearts are made of stone or smoke. They are rigid as stones in their minds, unable to see you and what you do for them and unstable like smoke in the wind unable to understand the depths of what was done. But did you know that, even in the Bible, according to Christ, the greatest of all people are those who go out of their way to serve others? And yes, the act of service does not require payback or appreciation as part of its core principle, since it was all done out of a heart that is selfless, but what about the person who is the receiver of the service, should they live life unaware that gratitude opens doors for new things and more successes? I bet they should live aware.
We are all products of the goodwill of people, parents, family members, friends, institutions, and communities. Not minding those people that love to call themselves self-made this and self-made that. So, when I watched the video of that grateful little man, it painted a picture of a great man in the making.
Gratitude to the Divine Presence
There are those that do not believe in God or in a Divine Being whose hands made all things, both seen and unseen. And that’s ok really. There are also those who think and believe that nature is God or the divine being that we should worship. I really don’t have any issue with what anyone believes, but at some point, we all get to the stage where our various experiences and the events in our lives, point us to some form of Divinity that we won’t be able to reject or demean.
Now, in as much as I do not have any issues with what anyone believes, I do have issues with those who say that nature is God but then go against everything that nature embraces. I have a huge issue with that. You can’t claim, based on whatever religion you practice, that nature is God but then you are the CEO of the multinational that is cutting down forest trees so you can set up a factory where you make a synthetic alternative of the same natural trees or plant products of the very plants you cut down. What’s a worshipper of nature doing when he or she cuts down the very “god” he or she worships? That’s such nonsense. Nor should you say nature is God but you involve yourself in unnatural sexual partnerships and weird sexual orientations that embarrass nature itself. I think people that do such things, and there are lots of examples that I won’t use, are actually very godless in their hearts. Their belief is really not that nature is God, but that, they are gods themselves since they live in nature or are natural beings. So, they really are not grateful for anything, since, in their thinking, they are the gods in their own lives that are making all things happen for them. They are too self-propagated and so grounded in the self-awareness of their grandeur, that they don’t even pay attention to the fact that none of us has more than a second to live on earth at a given time and that we owe all things to the Divine.
My point is this, we are surrounded by good people who give us selfless services, no matter how small, just as we are also surrounded by the Divine Presence through Whom all things come to us for our good. We therefore cannot be ungrateful to those who have made life bearable and workable for us. A little seed of thanksgiving can definitely bring forth a mighty tree of abundance in the future.
Gratitude is not a sign of weakness nor is it a thing that is demonstrated by those of lower status toward those of higher status. Gratitude is just what is it, a grateful attitude from the heart. And that’s irrespective of societal status.
Gratitude is one of the most powerful feelings that we can experience. It opens us up to all of life and in doing so, it offers immense power to heal ourselves and others. So, be grateful for sunlight, cold weather is not always our good friend. Be grateful for good health. Those that are sick understand why. Be grateful for every little thing in life, for little things are the beginning of greater things. Be grateful for the little plate of rice and beans held by those little hands because it reminds us that, to eat at a table of luxury with a golden spoon is not a special privilege for some privileged few, but the goodness of the Almighty. Be grateful for friends, families, and communities, for the good and for the bad, and also remember that gratitude is the true foundation of greatness, not hard work.
In concluding this article, I will use one of the many quotes from Rumi the Poet.
It goes without saying that, Rumi’s quotes about gratitude are some of the best reminders of how much our lives have been blessed by love, beauty, art, joy and peace. He says:
“Be grateful for your life, every detail of it, and your face will come to shine like a sun, and everyone who sees it will be made glad and peaceful.” ― Rumi
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Samuel Phillips is a writer, graphic designer, photographer, songwriter, singer and a lover of God. As an Afrikan content creator, he is passionate about creating a better image and positive narrative about Afrika and Afrikans. He is a true Afrikan who believes that the true potential of Afrika and Afrikans can manifest through God and accurate collaborations between Afrikans. Afrika is the land of kings, emperors, original wisdom, ancient civilizations, great men and women and not some road-side-aid-begging poor third world continent that the world finds joy in undermining.