Hmmm…Is it trite? Does it roll off of our tongues too quickly and easily? Is it possible that it’s overused as a term?
For years I wrote regular “gratitudes” on Facebook. Something like this on a day like today:
Gratitude 1) air conditioning to dull the heat wave outside our windows 2) health insurance that allows Glen to be in the hospital for more than a week and I don’t worry that we will lose the house 3) the US Open to distract me and let me spend some time zoning in on nothing that really matters (to me)
Those are good, right? They’re real. They matter. And yet, I feel like at moments in life like this moment…they aren’t enough. Sometimes it just seems that there aren’t words to describe my sense of gratitude. The thesaurus shows synonyms like “acknowledgement, praise, appreciativeness, gratefulness, honor, obligation (?), and…grace.
Ahhh…grace. There it is again.
So with Glen spending Day 11 in the hospital, I am grateful for many things in addition to 1, 2, and 3 above. I’m grateful that our “kids” have been able to spend a few days with me at the hospital. I’m grateful for the friends who have called, texted, FaceTimed, visited, and generally kept Glen (and me and the kids) in their thoughts. I’m grateful for my doctor who really listens to me, who doesn’t just poo poo my feelings. I’m grateful to all of the caregivers (read: nurses and CNAs) at UCSF. I truly have no idea how they do their jobs with such patience and elegance. I’m grateful for today – Niels and Blair arranged for Glen’s friend, Steve and Niels to hang with Glen for the day so that I could have a day “off” to regroup a bit. I’m grateful to my “sisters”, Kathy and Lorraine who gave up their day to just hang out with me. A pedicure and a trip to Target go a long way toward rejuvenation!
And I’m grateful for Glen. He’s been to medical hell and back more than once in his life and he just keeps looking forward. He has learned to go into a zone that allows him the grace to get through the hard days and nights. The grace to trust the medical experts. The grace to accept the process and even embrace the process. He has learned the grace of asking for and accepting help. The grace of recovery. And he has the grace of gratitude.
Another definition of gratitude adds, “a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”. So is gratitude a platitude? I don’t think so. Not when it’s backed up by real appreciations and believe me…we will be ready to return all of the kindness that we have received.
Our gratitude is not a platitude.