Gratitude

by tamarjacobson

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Quote of the day:

When a person doesn't have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. Eli Weisel

I sink my teeth into a meat-loaf sandwich neatly cut diagonally in half, and slightly flavored with a smidge of ketchup. It is one of three food items perfectly prepared, separated, and packaged each in a small plastic bag: a hard boiled egg, two walnut fudge brownies, and the meat loaf sandwich. I sit in the airport lounge early in the morning; my eyes still drooping with unfinished sleep, while hundreds of people bustle to and fro around me coming and going between food stalls and airline flight gates. I feel warm and cared for. Like a child, whose mother stayed up late the night before, placing in a brown bag all the food she had carefully prepared for me while I slept. She was thinking of my tiring journey ahead and wanted me to sense through her tender gifts of special food that home was never far away, even as I chose to stray far afield. I sit on the hard chair by the table outside the security check point, where I had come through rushing chaotically with hundreds of others, frenziedly pulling off shoes, jackets, and dragging out laptops and plastic bags of toiletries to place in large, plastic, grey trays on conveyor belts. Walking through the screening gate, machines beep and whistle as security agents pull me aside to full-body check me only to discover I had forgotten to remove my necklace in the mad dash through. Exhausted and drowsy from rising at the edge of dawn to make it in time to the airport, I munch on the sandwich staring vacantly ahead at nothing in particular, and as I start to relax an overwhelming feeling of gratitude envelops me to the point of tears. I realize that I cannot remember when anyone in my own family had so lovingly made me such a food parcel to take on my way anywhere. Indeed, I fended for myself – alone – from as far back as I can remember. I silently give thanks to my mother-in-law for the care she has shown me with my goodie bag – not only for today in the Seattle airport on my way home to Philadelphia – but for all the tins of Christmas cookies she sends me year after year in December just because she knows I like them so much. Gratitude in that moment gives me renewed energy and exhaustion drifts away. In its place I discover a stronger sense of self-worth, and now when I stare ahead I notice women and men, young and old, families with children, a man walking his dog, and a couple hand in hand. I feel a part of the human family around me, knowing that home in Seattle is never far away even as I set out for my own in Philadelphia.

Gratitude is key to a sense of self-worth and belonging, I realize. There is joy and hope in feeling grateful for who we are, what we have, and how we give and receive. It washes away bitterness and ancient wounds, and helps me open myself up to love.

A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Countdown to 65