Friday, February 24, 2017

A life in gratitude

The weather outside has been quite dynamic and dramatic these past couple of days.  One moment, the dark sky gives me an idea of what the last hours of Pompeii might have looked like, and then it is rain and hail and ice the next.

Yes, ice falling from the sky.  They fall kind of eerily.

When I stepped out of the meeting to head home, the parking lot was covered with ice and slush.  The car was coated with ice.  Ice, ice, baby!

Then the sun appeared through a blue opening in the dark sky.  It was gorgeous.  I drove with the slushy ice on the hood and the roof (bonnet, for some of you readers.)  As the speed picked up, and as the engine's warmth spread to the hood, the slush started melting.  Every few seconds, a chunk would fly off gracefully and the droplets splashed against the windshield making it all exciting for the four-year old within me.

I pulled up at a gas station.

The attendant, a young man, came running.  With a huge smile, he asked, "how you doin', sir?"

"Fine.  How are you?"

"Living a life in gratitude" he replied as he took my credit card.

After handing the card back to me, he proceeded to clean the windshield.

His facial expression, his body language, and the way he spoke, told me that he meant every word of "living a life in gratitude."  I wonder how he gained that wisdom in such a young age.

We often go through life without being thankful for the people and materials in our lives. Gratitude calls for a meaningful and profound appreciation for what one has.  Usually, this sentiment is associated with a humble religious person.  A couple of years ago, an essay raised a question that is important to people like me who are convinced that we can lead moral and fulfilling lives without religions and gods; the essay was about "gratitude without god."

Keep in mind that gratitude is more than a mere "thanks."  As the essay put it:
You can thank your grandma for making delicious pie, but who do you thank for the circumstances of your life?
I liked the following in that essay:
We all begin life dependent on others, and most of us end life dependent on others. If we are lucky, in between we have roughly 60 years or so of unacknowledged dependency. The human condition is such that throughout life, not just at the beginning and end, we are profoundly dependent on other people. ...    
Gratitude is the truest approach to life. We did not create or fashion ourselves. We did not birth ourselves. Life is about giving, receiving, and repaying. We are receptive beings, dependent on the help of others, on their gifts and their kindness.
On this special day, even if I do not always practice it, I like to think that I am living a life in gratitude.


Ramesh said...

Really. A young man in a gas station responded "living a life in gratitude" to the standard How're you ??? Wow !Firstly you are a unique state that requires gas station attendants. Secondly he responds like that. There's something in the water in the great state of Oregon that promotes slight eccentricity :)

Why do you lot insist on murdering the beautiful language. Hood is simply the thingy that covers the head (and its not hoodie). There is some hope for you after all since you did mention the right word in parentheses !

Sriram Khé said...

It is awesome that even gas station attendants in Oregon can often be so enlightened. It is such a pleasure living in this part of the world.

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