Gratitude or Gratefulness?
Many of us recently celebrated Thanksgiving Day. Yes, it’s primarily an American holiday, but its core message is universal. It’s about being thankful—expressing gratitude for what you have. When you think about it on a broader basis, it becomes clear how pervasive gratitude can be as a means to change the world for the better—and God knows we can use it right now! This special influence can be explained by the difference between the essence and meaning of gratitudeand gratefulness.
To understand this, let’s take a brief historical look at the very first Thanksgiving. It occurred in November of 1621. This year is the 400th anniversary of Thanksgiving! That first celebration was one year after the Pilgrims escaped religious persecution in England by sailing to America under the leadership of William Bradford. Their ship, the Mayflower, sailed into Plymouth Harbor close to Boston., a landing spot previously visited Sir Francis Drake and later by Charles Darwin.
Upon coming ashore at Plymouth, the Pilgrims immediately met and created a strong bond with the Wampanoags, Native Americans, who hoped the white settlers would advise them on how to deal with enemy tribes. Unfortunately, the frigid New England winter of 1620 was unbearable for the Pilgrims. The Wampanoags did their best to help them, but the Pilgrims were not used to such brutal cold weather. They were completely unprepared for it. Many of them did not survive the winter.
The next fall, when the Pilgrims finally made their recovery, they invited the Wampanoags to a huge feast held during November of 1621 to celebrate their first year of survival on the new continent. This was a way of offering their gratitude to the. The Native Americans were overwhelmed by the kindness of the Pilgrims and as such, they experienced the gift of gratefulness. Allow me to clarify.
Gratefulness is a feeling of joy and appreciation you feel from someone, after you have selflessly provided them with an act of kindness, understanding, compassion, or love. They experience gratitude—They are thankful—as they send you the energy of gratefulness—You feel joy and appreciation. More often than not, the sense of gratefulness they projectfar outweighs the gratitude they feel as a consequence of the kindness they have received from you.
In simple terms—you do something nice for someone. They feel the energy force of gratitude, and as a consequence send you an energy force, which you experience as elation and delight, namely, gratefulness.
In this spirit, I offer you a poem I’ve written a for Thanksgiving.
November 25, 2021
What is it—really?
Just two short stories . . .
I opened the door at the grocery store for an elderly lady
whose arms were filled to the brim with her goods.
She gave me a deep heartfelt smile.
It was a sign of her gratitude—but I tell you it was so much more.
I felt the warmth of her gift—It’s called Gratefulness.
Another one . . .
Late for a meeting, I nosed my car immediately out on the road.
I had the right-of-way.
But the guy on my left decided it was his and not mine.
He pushed so quickly in front of me.
Oh, what the heck, I thought—Let him go. What’s a few minutes more.
He raced ahead, his taillights blinking like mad.
His arm out the window with thanks like I’d changed his life for the better.
Wow! It felt so good!
So what is this thing called Gratefulness?
I think it’s when you do something for another and feel their reflected delight.
But it’s different—it touches you deep in your soul.
Something special you sense.
It’s the warmth of their joy that embraces your heart for the rest of your day.
So—my advice to you is do good unto others and graciously accept your reward.
It will definitely touch you and make you feel better. And surely this you will find.
It’s a gift from the Cosmic Divine.
Bound to bring you joy—each and every time!
Enjoy your journey! Make a difference!
Chairman & Owner, Chateau Mcely