32 Let the afflicted see it and be glad!
You who seek God—
let your hearts beat strong again -- Psalm 69: 32 (CEB)
30 But I will give great thanks to the Lord with my mouth;
among a great crowd I will praise God! -- Psalm 109:30 (CEB)
This past January John and I visited Boston to celebrate his and our youngest grandson’s birthdays , which fall on the same day. And, yes I know January is not the ideal time to visit historic Boston and yes we had snow. However, we just couldn’t miss this celebration of joint Birthdays.
Because the weather was anything but comfortable we all decided to visit the Boston Science Museum and spend the day where it was warm, dry and had lots of exciting things to do and see. The 2 grandchildren had a great time exploring the human body, looking at dinosaurs and exploring all kinds of interactive exhibits. For lunch we chose to take our packed lunch to the large busy café and supplement all of our goodies with a few treats.
After making our selections and paying for them I went to get the necessary napkins, forks, spoons and straws needed to eat our lunch. As I was picking up my things there was a young man restocking the bins as we took things out. It looked like such an endless job and more than a little boring but he was doing an excellent job of keeping up. Before I left I turned to him and said “thank you for keeping this area stocked, I’m sure it’s not an easy task.” Startled he turned and gave me a gruff “thank you.”
After we had finished our lunch and were preparing to leave the area the same young man pushed his way through the crowded exit area and called to me, “Miss, I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your thanks. No one has ever spoken to me that way before and I was afraid I might have offended you so I wanted to make sure you knew how happy I was.”
First of all, I really liked being called miss, no one has called me that in a very long time so he won me over just with that one word. Well I was happy to bring a little joy into his otherwise boring day with just a few words of thanks from me. But, what saddened me was his statement NO ONE HAD EVER COMPLIMENTED HIM for doing his job well! No one ever said thank you! That is one of the saddest things I have ever heard. It took me all of 2 seconds to express my thanks to the young man and those 2 seconds made his day. For 2 seconds he wasn’t invisible and unimportant. No he had been seen, he was important enough for someone to say thank you. As we were separated by the ever shifting crowd he waved and gives me the biggest, toothiest grin I have ever seen.
Two seconds out of my day added joy to someone else’s. Gratitude isn’t an emotion or attitude we are to keep to ourselves, no, gratitude is to be given away freely at every opportune moment, even when you yourself are not grateful. We hear so often we are to be grateful for what God has given us, to express gratitude by thanking God. Well being grateful for God’s grace comes in many forms. It was a grace of God that a young man did his boring job well, it was a grace of God that allowed me to see the face of God in the young man and his courage to continue performing a rather menial task even when no noticed how well he did it. Gratitude for the grace of God comes in many forms, big and small, all are important in the eyes of God.
The Psalms tell us to seek God’s face and to offer our thanks for God’s gifts. Each one of us is a gift, each one of us has a gift to give, each one of us is the reflection of God, and each one of us carries God within. So doesn’t it make sense to give thanks to those who reflect the grace of God?
Over the next week begin the habit of saying thank you for the little graces of God. Offer thanks to the bus driver as you exit, say thank you to the young woman who hands you your morning coffee or say thank you to the washroom attended and see the smiles grow around you. Offering thanks is an easy spiritual practice and one that brings great joy to the receiver and the giver alike and it is free to give. It costs you no more than 2 to 5 seconds of your day, surly we can spend 5 seconds to bring hours of joy to someone who feels they are invisible to the rest of the world. Surly we can learn to do that every day, for every person we meet.
Thank you for reading my blog post. Your presence on my site has made my day and I am grateful for your interest.
Ruth Jewell, ©February 25, 2014