By JG Lewis
Gratitude flows two ways. It must.
For gratitude to be gratitude, it has to be given, as it is accepted; free of conditions, without demand, without expectations. As an exchange there needs be—at its most crucial point—equality. Both the giver and the receiver should bask in the state of grace allowed (even if only for a moment) and furthered by, the humane act of giving.
Gratitude is “you are welcome” as much as it is “thank you.”
Sadly, and often, in this give-and-take society, there is an imbalance of power. The provision of aid or assistance is viewed as strength, with the acceptance, or receiver, as weak. Charity—a worthy and necessary act—is boastfully promoted and endorsed. The “look at me” or “look at us” attitude removes the true shine from an otherwise generous act as it makes the giver more important than the need.
It’s pretty ugly out there. We, as humans, have continued to allow this to happen.
Captains of industry, politicians, plumbers and the powers that preach have continually deceived us. We have almost become pre-conditioned to accepting this conditioned eye-for-an-eye type of attitude of gratitude.
It should not be more difficult to understand as it is to accept gratitude.
We need to help each other more. The spirit of giving should be fostered among us, but we end up asking too many questions. Even if just by questioning where any form of gratitude flows, we are suspicious. We look for ulterior motives and hidden reasons.
How do we get past the doubt—or the disingenuous—to not only show our thankfulness, but share the act and purpose bestowed upon us?
We, perhaps, need to be more thankful of what we’ve got and more gratified in how we share our place and purpose. Indeed, as with the adage “the hand that gives is the hand that gathers meaning,” it must be more than exhibiting kindness towards others as a means of benefiting the self. We need to recognize the profound connection of the hand that gives and the hand that receives.
The benefits are shared, are equal and are needed. There is a deeper meaning in not only accepting selflessly, but in giving graciously.
J.G. Lewis is a writer and photographer, a dreamer and wanderer, father and brother (an orphan of sorts), living in Toronto area. Formerly an award-winning journalist, he now writes mainly fiction and poetry. He practices Bikram Yoga, doesn’t take the camera out enough, and enjoys the snap, crackle and pop of music on vinyl. You can read more of J.G. on his website, www.mythosandmarginalia.com. Follow him on Facebook, catch his daily breath on Twitter at @sayit4word.
Editor: Dana Gornall
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