I was surprised in middle-age when I realized that I was not fully grateful. Like every other human being on the planet, I had heard of the concept but unlike many others it did not fully resonate with me. Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Although I readily appreciated and returned kindness, I was not thankful. I often volunteered kindness where it had not been shown, or even where it was denied, but I was not thankful.
I knew that thankfulness is a virtue. I knew that thankfulness enhanced one’s person and life. I also knew that I was devoid of thankfulness, I simply lacked the feeling. I had not acquired it on my own. I had attended many religious services, in quite a few denominations, where thankfulness was extolled, explained, and encouraged, but somehow thankfulness had not been instilled within me.
Equally surprising, once I became aware of this moral defect within myself, I was very resistant to becoming thankful. I had to corner myself and force the issue with myself. I had to overcome the feeling that I had nothing for which to be grateful. I had to overcome the knowledge that there had been too few gifts in my life and too many blows. I felt lke a swimmer drowning in the ocean learning to value the skill of swimming. I had to overcome the sense that it was wrong to be grateful for gifts given to me which are denied to others. I had to understand that the goal in life is not to take from those who have in order to give to those who have not, but that the goal in life is that all should have generous gifts. The struggle to feel truly thankful was embarrassingly difficult for me. I did not want to be thankful, not for life, not for the joys in life. I literally prayed for years for the grace of thankful gratitude before it was granted to me. I now have thankful gratitude, but to find it I must delve into far corners of who I am. Thankful gratitude is weak within me.
Caption: Gratitude Is Not Easy For Me
by Annmarie Throckmorton 2018