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The Power of Gratitude and Service

Comments on and off the blogging community have caused me to muse a bit about the power of gratitude and service.

I'd like to believe I'm a fairly strong person.  At the risk of sounding conceited, I'll even add to the character list and say that I'm determined and committed, and will do what I'm supposed to do.  I usually view the challenges of life as just that--challenges.  As a surprisingly competitive person, I will attack the problem until it is solved.  I am generally strong. . . until someone makes a comment that validates the idea that I am going through a rough spell.  Then I realize that what I am going through is hard, and I might just cry a little--or more than a little.

For example, when I was pregnant with my youngest son, I spent months on bedrest.  During the last 6 weeks prior to delivery, I was confined to the hospital.  Part of the time, I was treated with an IV solution of magnesium sulfate.  The side effects were unpleasant.  I was hot, thirsty (but had to limit fluids), sluggish, and had double vision.  During one particularly difficult night, I was impressed to call the nurse.  At first I thought I was just being a wimp, and I didn't want to be a bother or complainer.  But I kept feeling like I should call the nurse, so I finally pushed the call button. When the nurse came in, she checked my vital signs, found my blood pressure was 80/50, promptly disconnected my IV, and then called the doctor.  I realized then that I was feeling badly not because I was just being a wimp, but because something really was wrong.  The seriousness of the situation hit me a bit, then.  The medication that was keeping me from delivering early had become too much to bear, and I was happy to allow the nurse to relieve me of it.  

I've noticed a similar pattern other times in my life, or in the lives of those around me:  people doing what they can to be strong and endure, feeling a bit embarrassed to admit something is difficult, then feeling relief and allowing grief when the burden is shared with others.  


I might have shared this video before, but it deserves an additional viewing.  During my difficult pregnancy, I learned to be thankful for many things:  my other children were being taken care of by their wonderful grandmas; despite medication side effects, I was not in pain; I had great friends who didn't forget me; John was a rock of stability and kept the fort down in my absence.  Being able to recognize those things, helped make that time in the hospital an almost sacred time.  As Lizzi discovered when she started the Ten Things of Thankful blog hop, gratitude makes a difference during difficult times.  

Being grateful lets us see the good in our lives, even in the midst of storms of bad.  That is a great first step.  The extension of that thankfulness is service to others.  As we recognize the good in our lives, we want others to experience goodness, too--particularly those who are having difficulty finding it.  

Sometimes, it is just a listening ear that is needed.  Other times, there are meals to cook, rides to offer, children to watch, errands to run, houses to clean, yards to mow, leaves to rake, . . . and always, there are prayers to offer and smiles to give.  The miraculous thing is that as we try to ease the burdens of others, our own problems are also easier to bear.  That is the power of gratitude and service.



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Thanks for gratitude, service, and love.

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  1. Gratitude and service are extremely powerful. And it doesn't even have to be big things. Starting small makes a huge difference in both gratitude and service.

    1. I agree. Small steps are do-able, and make a difference in the lives of both giver and receiver.

  2. This is a great post. I get stubborn at times and forget that I don't have to handle things by myself.

    1. If everyone refused help, how could we give?

  3. Very powerful things. And focusing on what is good in life, not what is troublesome, is so helpful. If I hadn't stumbled upon the TToT crew, I think these long long months of unemployment for the Hub and all the other associated struggles would have gone very differently for all of us.
    It's very easy to feel like we're "wimping out" if we ask for help in some way. I know I've done it. But having someone to share the load makes a world of difference.

    1. I'm glad that TToT helped you. I know I look forward to each weekend, to read how people all over the world are finding strength through thankfulness.

  4. The only way I can coop with my health issues is to realize and remember as often as possible the things I dó have. I have a lot to be thankful for. Every once in while though I break down and would give it all up for a better health, or at least a good reason to live for. Having no children makes me feel useless, having all those health issues make me feel like I'm a burden on Henk. I refuse to ask for help, to anyone actually, knowing I have to do it all myself to at least not burden others with my stuff. Everyone has his own cross to bear, their own problems in life. Mine are not bigger or worse than others or the other way around for that matter.
    Being thankful, keeping in mind all the things we do have, those are the things that make life worth living. That's why I read your blog. To keep reminding myself and don't give up.....

    1. Oh, you just paid me a great compliment! It means a lot to me to hear that this blog makes a difference. Thank you.

      I will take just a little issue with your "cross to bear" statement. Yes, we all have our own challenges in life, and I agree that problems are not a competition to see whose are bigger or worse. However, when we allow others to help us--in whatever capacity--both parties benefit. Also, it makes it that much easier for the giver to feel comfortable asking for the receiver's help in the future. Help doesn't have to be huge to count. :-)

  5. I needed to read this today. Thank you.

  6. Thank you a wonderful and true reminder gratitude and service - thank you for the reminder:)


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