Saying our Thank-Yous

Many of my friends and colleagues find it rather peculiar when I say ‘thank you’ to waiters, shop assistants, auto rickshaw drivers and just about any one who does me a service. One of them asked me why I would thank someone for a service I had paid for. Another told me that I was ‘too polite’. I’m happy to report that none of the people I’ve thanked had any such objections!

 

Having painted myself in such a glorious light, I must hasten to add that while I thank strangers I sometimes err when it comes to thanking my family for their many and daily acts of service and kindness to me. And even more often, I forget to say ‘thank you’ to that great Giver of all gifts. How often I have take the many ‘gifts’ I’ve received for granted.

Fortunately, as I get older, I think I’m beginning to get a little better at saying my thank-yous to my family and to God. Everyday brings me a new reason to be grateful; When I look around and see the kind of life and situations others have to go through, I wonder what I’ve done to deserve such ‘wealth’. But the strange thing is, that the more I look at things with a grateful heart, the more things I find to be grateful for. Yes, it almost seems like being grateful has a multiplier effect.

Sarah Ban Breathnach, the author of ‘Simple Abundance’ promotes the use of what she calls a ‘Gratitude Journal’. She says ‘if you give thanks for five gifts every day, in two months you may not look at your life in the same way as you might now’. I’m going to try keeping a gratitude journal, because I do believe in the principle.

I came across this lovely Hasidic parable that illustrates what I’m saying:

Once times were tough. Two men–both poor farmers–were walking down a country lane and met their Rabbi. “How is it for you?” the Rabbi asked the first man. “Lousy,” he grumbled, bemoaning his lot and lack. “Terrible, hard, awful. Not worth getting out of bed for. Life is lousy.”

Now, God was eavesdropping on this conversation. “Lousy?” the Almighty thought. “You think your life is lousy now, you ungrateful lout? I’ll show you what lousy is.”

Then, the Rabbi turned to the second man. “And you, my friend?” “Ah, Rabbi–life is good. God is so gracious, so generous. Each morning when I awaken, I’m so grateful for another day, for I know, rain or shine, it will unfold in wonder and blessings too bountiful to count. Life is so good.”

God smiled as the second man’s thanksgiving soared upwards until it became one with the harmony of the heavenly hosts. Then the Almighty roared with delighted laughter. “Good? You think your life is good now? I’ll show you what good is!”

So let’s not forget to say our thank-yous – they will actually lead us to receive more!