What Language Will You Use This Season?

It’s a simple thought. Probably not new and definitely not my own. But it gave me pause as I was heading warp speed into the home stretch of this holiday season.

Thankfulness is not some sort of magic formula; it is the language of love. . .
–Sarah Young

Doesn’t that slow you down by just reading it? We’re told so often to be grateful, to begin each day with gratitude, to make lists of what we’re thankful for, and to even strive to adopt a “gratitude attitude.”

But why?

It is the language of love.

What a great reminder in this season of love and giving.

It’s a busy time, though, isn’t it? Shopping, wrapping, cooking, baking, planning, decorating, and the lists of lists go on. How do we let love become our primary language? What is it about gratitude that fosters love?

Gratitude allows us to pause, to take a snapshot of reality, and consider what we are grateful for in that moment. We aren’t focusing on what we want or what we’ve lost, but on the best of what we have.

It can also diffuse frustration, I learned this week.

Early one morning I’d returned to my new favorite shopping place, ALDI’s, for another round of food shopping. Power wheelchairs and crowds don’t mix well, so I like to shop early. A young couple had done the same, but they were struggling to keep up with their two rambunctious preschoolers.

One child was fascinated by the wheels of my wheelchair. More than once, he’d run beside me and then dart in front of me, making me stop abruptly. His father would retrieve him and apologize. About the third time it happened, I was beginning to lose my patience and thought about shooting that dad one of those “can’t-you-control-your-kid” looks, but took a deep breath and didn’t. He again apologized, grabbing his son’s hand to lead him back to the cart. After a few steps, the weary dad turned around and waved, mouthing the words, “Thank you.”

I smiled and waved back, so very glad I’d kept that admonishing look to myself. Memories suddenly flooded back as I recalled the antics of my own preschoolers and our storied grocery shopping jaunts.

His simple “thank you” melted my frustration and connected our worlds.

When we pause to be grateful, we are taking the time to acknowledge a gift that we’ve been given, whether it’s a compliment, assistance, or even a tolerant response.

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
–William Arthur Ward

Wow. It’s the gift-giving season, so let’s go!

Gratitude opens us up for connection. It may begin as a simple transactional conversation, but it has the power to connect us beyond the moment, to reinforce our shared humanity.

So during this Christmas season, I’m going to make an extra effort to express gratitude—to the clerk who picked up an extra shift so I could shop early, to the person in line behind me who is patient with me as I fumble for my wallet, to the delivery man who does not ring the doorbell since he knows it upsets my dog, to the driver who slows down so we can make that left turn out of my neighborhood, to my trash collector who thoughtfully put the lid back on my emptied trash can and retrieved my newspaper from the mulch.

Gratitude has the power to renew in us the best of what our shared humanity offers: kindness, understanding, and love.

How about you? Have you had the chance to express gratitude and felt the warmth of the connection it offered? Tell me about it, I’d love to know.

My best – always,

Becky  (Nana B)

P.S. Grateful for a visit last week from my sister, Rachel, and our time spent practicing our new holiday outlook.

P.P.S. Just learned my book has 92 Amazon reviews! Grateful to all who have shared their opinions!

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