What’s happened to gratitude?
It’s the question I ponder a lot lately and resurfaced for me as I sat to pen this piece a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving.
Before expanding more, I must share quite honestly I can’t believe Thanksgiving is already upon us. I’m still adjusting to the short days and the unseasonably warm weather we’re still adhering to makes it all the more difficult to accept.
Yet, here we are and while we can’t add hours to our day, we can take the time to take a breath for a moment and live in the days we are given. Oh, sure we’re all busy and the hustle and bustle is about to get as real as ever, perhaps that’s why I feel it necessary to pen a reminder of gratitude and well … humanity.
I’m grateful for many things and I’m not the type of person to be quiet about that. I’ve shared my reasons and why for that in this space a number of times before. I don’t always get it right and won’t use this column piece to pretend that I do. Often times it’s (gratefully) the actions of others that help me reconnect and reexamine my own behavior and how I choose to travel my path.
One sad fact to being a person of gratitude and genuine love comes from those who criticize or mock persons like myself. Words such as ‘fake,’ ‘weird,’ ‘strange,’ oddly tend to be used by those living with their own demons and anger. The good news of course is that I’m completely at peace with where my heart and gratitude come from and recognize that those who truly know me (and my children) not only embrace, but love us for who we are.
As someone who spent the first half of my professional career in the service industry I still struggle with the clerk who doesn’t tell you the total at the check out counter or neglects using the words thank you at the completion of a transaction.
Now living in the day of so much access on-line, as well as self-checkout it’s almost as if this void has been accepted as the norm. That saddens me. Back in my day of customer service, we were constantly reminded that the customer has choices, showing gratitude is what you do when in the customer service business.
Truth be told, I’m still in the business of customer service, yet with a different spin. As a small town community paper we rely on our readers as well as our advertisers. We recognize there are other choices and while it is not up to the reader to dictate what we write as journalists, we do take the reader into consideration.
I’ve shared with friends and family on multiple occasions, while I am paid to report on community news, I also view my position as somewhat of a service job to the community. Case in point, last week I shared a story of two business women joining forces to not only support one another’s business, but continue to bring their services to the community.
As the local paper we want to see businesses succeed and thrive. We recognize their importance not only to our community by way of service, but generating revenue as well which benefits the community at large. I’m always grateful for business and community members who make the time to meet with us, so that we may share their story.
Being completely transparent, I do struggle with the individual who throws the “I’m too busy” vibe, as if the rest of us aren’t. Nineteen years in the business, I recognize some people just operate that way. Perhaps it makes them feel good, important, accomplished – who knows. Personally as a busy person myself, that person gets two passes and then I move on.
I’m a one woman show after all and while I may be grateful and love filled, I’m not desperate or a door mat.
Okay, that makes me chuckle as I type it. Recognizing that some may read it as harsh, and those who know me to giggle. We just can’t please everyone all the time, that’s a simple fact. We can however show gratitude when it’s both fitting and appropriate, which is just about always.
So what’s the point really?
Last week I shared I would use the four weeks of this month to focus this space on gratefulness. Consider this week’s piece a long winded way around a call to action. Pause for a minute when in the company of others or simply in your every day life and let those you appreciate know these feelings.
Personally (as the one woman show), I’m grateful for a number of things. I’m grateful for the network of support we have by way of a community, the movers and shakers who never hesitate to send a text or e-mail to fill me in on a story or community happening. Equally I’m grateful for the readers of my words and the ones who continue to offer feedback. It’s a fortunate place to be when someone takes the time to let you know how they feel about what you’ve shared.
In short, the beauty and gift of this job, aka profession, aka community service is not lost on this girl. So to the reader, community member, student, parent and service club supporters this week – I’m grateful for each of you. As I’ve shared with many in the past, without your trust and support I would have no job, so today I sincerely say – thank you!
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at email@example.com or by calling 847-3021.