I’ve mentioned this before, and I want to expound upon that a little bit, because I don’t know if I’ve given a lot of time to explaining this. Be patient with me, and realize that I am speaking from my own thoughts, so I wouldn’t recommend accepting what I say without question. I believe I have valuable insights, but do recognize that as a relatively young person I still have a ways to go as far as gaining and sharing wisdom.
It would be my wish that people in life would take their debts of gratitude seriously. When someone gives a gift to another, expecting nothing in return, it is a gift of love. These gifts are wonderful, because you can receive them without feeling obligated to give anything in return, you don’t ‘owe’ a person who gives you a gift purely out of love. Yet I feel that to every gift of love, there should exist a debt of gratitude. Gratitude is an act of receiving a gift of love with love. Now recognize that I’m not talking about receiving a physical gift– which is also important, but not so much as receiving and recognizing the love by which the gift is given. How can you accept that without feeling grateful? To me it doesn’t seem possible. It is as if the laws of the universe, natural laws, the rule of God, or whatever you want to call it, follow this natural order; give in love and receive with gratitude.
I don’t think people realize how valuable gratitude is. But since I see it as another translation of love, I consider it to be of the utmost importance. It takes time and effort to cultivate oneself to the point where gratitude really becomes part of your character. But I believe that gratitude, when truly incorporated into one’s life, can become a powerful acting force. After all, if you truly feel gratitude for the gifts you have received, how can you keep from wanting to share that with others? It’s like in Plato’s Cave, upon receiving greater light and understanding, people will go back into the darkness of the cave so that they can bring others to see and experience what they have. It becomes a powerful drive, again like the natural laws of the human condition are working upon you– that divine spark, and you feel you have to give back somehow. And maybe you don’t feel like you have to give back to that specific person, but want to reach out to others. Others who need a gift, just like you do, just like we all do. And therein starts the ripples.
As for what these ‘gifts’ are, don’t disregard what you have to give– even if you don’t think it’s valuable or important. Sometimes humans get caught up in this “all-or-nothing” deal, where they think if they can’t be the type of person who gets documentaries made of them, they probably don’t have anything worth contributing. Start small, that’s where the great people start anyway. Make somebody laugh, share your creative talents, exude a cheerful disposition, learn to be giving, show concern for other people and their problems, go visit people and have face-to-face conversations, tell others how much you mean to them, learn how you can share wisdom, and find a way to be a unique contribution.
One final recommendation, look for the echos. Remember a couple of months ago, I made a blog post about someone I knew who was having a rough time, so my sister and I gave him treats? Well the truth is, I know him because he did a service to me once (he cleaned my oven on White Glove one semester). I saw an opportunity to give something to him, because he has done something for me. Well last night he was making raspberry s’mores, and had some leftovers. So he stopped by my apartment to give some to me and my roommates. You see how it is? These gifts echo through time, and it’s lovely to think about them. This is how the ripples begin. I mean, maybe I’m a starry-eyed optimist, but I honestly feel that these sorts of things create an impact on the world.
If nothing else, my world is certainly better for having that raspberry s’more in it.