is not a passive response to something we have been given, gratitude arises from paying attention, from being awake in the presence of everything that lives within and without and beside us. Gratitude is not necessarily something that is shown after the event, it is the deep, a-priori state of attention that shows we understand and are equal to the gifted nature of life.
Gratitude is the understanding that many millions of things must come together and live together and mesh together and breathe together in order for us to take even one more breath of air, that the underlying gift of life and incarnation as a living, participating human being is a privilege; that we are miraculously, part of something, rather than nothing. Even if that something is temporarily pain or despair, we inhabit a living world, with real faces, real voices, laughter, the color blue, the green of the fields, the freshness of a cold wind, or the tawny hue of a winter landscape.
To see the full miraculous essentiality of the color blue is to be grateful with no necessity for a word of thanks. To see fully, the beauty of a daughter’s face across the table, of a son’s outline against the mountains, is to be fully grateful without having to seek a God to thank him. To sit among friends and strangers, happy dogs, or the whole menagerie of our acquaintance, hearing many voices, strange opinions; to intuit even stranger inner lives beneath calm surface lives, to inhabit many worlds at once in this world, to be a someone amongst all other someones, and therefore to make a conversation without saying a word, is to deepen our sense of presence and therefore our natural sense of thankfulness that everything happens both with us and without us, that we are participants and witness all at once.
Thankfulness finds its full measure in generosity of presence, both through participation and witness. We sit at the table as part of every other person’s world while making our own world without will or effort, this is what is extraordinary and gifted, this is the essence of gratefulness, seeing to the heart of privilege. Thanksgiving happens when our sense of presence meets all other presences. Being unappreciative might mean we are simply not paying attention.
© David Whyte and Many Rivers Press
The holidays are a time of celebration and reflection. I am acutely aware of how much my livelihood depends on others – this includes everyone from my employees, to our vendors and of course our customers.
Thank you for your business, your patience, as well as every ounce of kindness and consideration you have extended to every one of us at First Direct. It is truly a privilege to serve you.
Happy Thanksgiving and Best Wishes for the Holiday Season and New Year!
Bob & Mary Ritter
Jay, Jeff, JoAnn and Max
First Direct Corp.