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Gratitude: the greatest of virtues

There are at least two ways of looking at everything. A piece of apple pie is delicious or it is not. The cup is half-empty or it is half-full. The student passes the bar or does not. The car is a good buy or it is a lemon.

There were two prisoners in a jail cell. One looked out the window and saw mud. The other looked out the same window and saw the stars.

A grandmother faithfully sent a gift to her grandchild but never received a note of thank you. Finally, the grandmother decided there was only ingratitude so she stopped sending gifts.

Ingratitude cuts goodwill, saps the life source, and brings benevolence down to zero. Leroy Satchel Paige says, “Don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines. Jesus healed ten lepers. Only one returned and gave thanks. Were not ten made clean?”

Gratitude, on the other hand, is life giving. Henry Ward Beecher says, “Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.” Cicero says, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all.”

There is power in gratitude. The mere phrase “thank you” carries in its nature a feeling that is heart-warming, an appreciation, and an acknowledgment with wings. Gratitude recognizes the giver with honor, respect, and reverence. The psalmist knew this well: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving… Give thanks to him, bless his name.” (Psalm 100:4)

So in these difficult times, let us be thankful. One writer, name unknown, suggests: Be thankful for the mess after the party; it means you have friends. The taxes we pay means we are employed. A pile of dirty laundry and ironing means we have clothes to wear. When the morning light breaks the darkness that awakens us, it means we can see. Many are blind. I add: the faith we have is a treasure to behold. Many in the world do not believe.

In everything, let us give thanks. There are more blessings than our mathematics can account for.


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