Nestled on the northeastern side of Florida, approximately 50 miles away, is the island of my birth, Bimini. Contrary to what many may believe, it is the most internationally known island in The Bahamas, second only to New Providence.
It is here where I spent many days of childhood bliss, nurtured under the caring arms of parents who taught so many lessons for lifelong learning. My father, who went several rounds in the boxing ring with Ernest Hemmingway, fished many great men and women in our transparent turquoise waters.
My mother, a giant of a woman with a meek spirit, was insightful enough to equip her children (all 17 of them), with all the necessary tools to navigate through life. The second greatest skill taught by both parents, however, is the ability to demonstrate the “Spirit of Gratitude” (Christian living is the first).
Gratitude is the ability to show genuine appreciation for any kindness that is shown or expressed to another. In fact, many times we should be grateful for some things that we consider to be unkind gestures, as we can learn from these as well. Gratitude should be nurtured by Christian virtues. I have worked and lived around some people, (professing Christians), if my salvation had to be garnered from the examples of their lives, I would be straight on my way to Hell!
People need to be more thankful. In this day and time when things are so tough, we need to relish everything that we have and never take anything for granted. My mother was the type of person you could give a stone for a bed. She would sleep on the stone, fold it the following morning, place it in the corner and say thank you. Complaining was not her style. She epitomized the adage, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
Two days ago, I stopped at the house of an acquaintance who had purchased some earrings for me. Upon arriving at the house, I was exhausted and asked my older daughter to retrieve the items. She returned to the car with a bewildered look on her face.
When questioned about her expression, she held up two rolls of toilet paper. She said, “she sent these too.” My daughter explained how she tried to return the items, but the lady insisted. My daughter further inquired of me, if things were tougher than she knew. I said to her, “be grateful, toilet paper serves a purpose too. She flashed me a smile and we went on with our day. When I arrived home, I called the acquaintance and thanked her for the jewelry and the toilet paper.
God has been so faithful to so many of us. We should become responsible stewards, and show God that we are thankful for all of His bountiful blessings. We should also assist those who are less fortunate than we.
If you are a complainer, cease from this behavior. Take a look around your immediate environment and I guarantee you that you would find at least 10 things for which to give thanks. If it is any consolation to you, remember the Bible tells us that the steps of a righteous man are ordered of God. (Psalm 37 verse 23).
Personally, I refuse to allow negative attitudes to cause me to forget my GRATITUDE. I don’t give anyone that kind of power in my life.
~ Dr. Pam
Point to ponder: Gratitude is a learned behavior; learn it!
• Ask Doctor Pam is an advice column that is featured every Tuesday in this journal. Your letters and comments are encouraged. You may e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Askdoctorpam P.O. Box F43736. Dr. Pam is a Clinical Psychologist trained in all areas of mental health.