Yes, that was what went through my mind as I sat on a bench at the foot of a ski slope on Thanksgiving morning watching the countless skiers and snowboarders having the first run of the season.
I have never snow skied before, and most likely will never take it up, but it was fun to watch them for a while, pent up all year just waiting for this morning.
Earlier in our trip out here to Colorado, Connie, my wife of 32 years, and I were able to tell each other what we were most thankful for as we sat down to dinner. It was easy pickings, on the surface anyway, we have each other, we have our health and we have plenty, but I wondered in depth about our collective thoughts and those of the folks we were surrounded by.
I wondered if the pre-teen crowd were enlightened enough to be thankful for the opportunity that they were, at that very moment, experiencing.
I wondered if the workers around the lift, ski rental and safety teams gave a thankful thought that the crowds had come, allowing them to earn an income via the employment they are engaged in.
What about the hotel staff? I wondered if they were thankful that the hotel was fully booked and they were having to hustle to meet the needs of the patrons.
Recently in the spirit of the holiday, I posted this snippet: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John Fitzgerald Kennedy
It’s hard to tell in some cases, others not so hard, if someone is acting from a thankful mind-set or if they are simply collecting their pay.
Pay being a relative term, here I mean it as what return they are seeking for their actions. Wages, the favor of others, a tip, or simply the pleasure of serving.
Usually while traveling you get to see an example of all of them. The lady serving coffee seemed to get it. Tom, the maintenance man I spoke with about salt water pools versus chlorine-based pools certainly got it.
Does “getting it” always equate to serving, thinking and acting from a thankful place?
I doubt it, but isn’t that what JFK’s message above is talking about? Not just talking the talk, but walking the walk?
These thoughts are what led me to this term, “Unknowingly Thankful”. In other times of the year, I think we could define this as “assumption”.
People assume that the coffee server will be polite and that Tom knows the proper salinity to maintain the pool water at to allow it to perform at its best. We all know what they say about assumptions.
My holiday season wish for you, and for me, is that we become aware of our assumptions and practice “Knowing Thankfulness” by taking time to recognize acts of generosity, politeness and grace.
Don’t just assume folks know how much things mean, tell them. Tell the guy at the car wash, “Thanks for working,” when it’s 31 degrees outside. Say, “Thank you,” to someone that gave up their holiday to cook the buffet you and yours may go to versus cooking at home.
Here’the biggest request; take good care of those close to you. Friends, family, co-workers or whoever is in your life.
This is a tough time of year for many… anniversaries of things that have come and gone, first time holidays since Dad passed, now the kids are all out of the house, etc.
Be thankful and be kind, we will all be better for it.
Until next time, stay cognizantly non-oblivious.