Gratitude is a complex noun; it is not simple to decipher its feel in a single definition of signification. Gratitude is not something we study through science or other form of written words; it is something we get to know through experimentation. There are events that, in the infinite goodwill of God, take place in our lives and teach us gratitude as a raw feeling, conveying its whole meaning in a burst of emotions, warming up our hearts in a mix of satisfaction and humility. Gratitude make us whole, anew. However, and the reason why gratitude becomes an impossible in our cognitive self-realization and the altruistic empathy, gratitude is a virtue that feels and acts differently in each person. Each person has different needs, therefore gratitude is felt and expressed in different manners.
Before I utter, or type, a word of the story that gave inception to this article, let me give you some narrative about other aspects of gratitude that I see fit and needful to observe before the account takes over. I am convinced that gratitude cannot abide without charity; a person who has no charity in itself cannot be grateful. Doubtlessly, this would be a disgraceful dystopia that we certainly do not enjoy in excess or at all. We all have charity and gratitude developed at some minimal level, which makes substance enough for survival. Proof of this is the world itself: governments, organizations, and mostly a fair degree of safety, peace, honesty and order. Hence, if a person never gives, that person will never gratify receiving.
Continuing, I will give account of a story that taught me gratitude in a deeper essence and interpretation. I found myself in New York, the city of my phantasies; New York is my place of refuge, a place where art and effort has always been very well appreciated and rewarded, specially dedicated writers and musicians. The city has no room for mediocre action or performance, but it has room for willingness of learning and perfecting. New York teaches you that enjoying the high life can only be a consequence of arduous work, consistence, growth and professionalism. Nevertheless, I was in New York, and I was going to be there for one month and one week more. There was just one little issue that made my time there a form of hell by choice.
After a few days in New York, I was checking on my bank balance, very sharply displayed on the screen of my phone; unfortunately, the numbers were not forming many nines or zeroes; there was no comas, only five figures, two of them being cents and the first of all not particularly grown up or very mature. I am young, which is no excuse for what I am about to say, and I wanted to have fun, I wanted to enjoy my trip spending money here and there; that was a main reason for a series of hard jobs I worked prior the trip. I worked hard, as much as I was offered and as much as I could find; I saved up some capital to spend on my trip and… once in New York, that fund became insignificant. In New York, prices are elevated, work is paid for in higher numbers, things are different. Therefore, I found that I just had enough to eat daily and see one or two shows, maybe. That was not my idea.
In a mess of stressing thoughts, I asked myself some questions. Why is my work not appreciated in New York? Currency is not a matter of effort, it is a matter of location. My work is appreciated differently in Utah and New York, at least when it comes to swiping plastic. Sometimes that differential will be beneficious and sometimes prejudicial. But no, I was not good with that; I wanted my effort to be rewarded right then, right there. I wanted to see my prize fattened instantly. That was a reason good enough to start calling some people and asking for help. Now, within all the defects that build my imperfection, I have a virtue. I do not look for money without a payback; I wanted work, work well appreciated in New York standards. Luckily, because I am an exceedingly well-blessed child of the deity like everyone else, I happened to know the right people for my wants. So, I was given certain tasks which I performed well with green thought in between each action. Finally, I was paid, and I was well rewarded. I was pleased but… greed. I wanted more, more fun. And this happened.
I was asked to help someone with some computing tips; I, not thinking it twice, accepted the request. I took the green line to my destination and I helped as requested. However, the appreciation of my work was different this time. It was not green, it was not numerical, it was not accountable, it was… tasty, happy, completing, it was exceptional. It was food and conversation at Junior’s. It was another friend in New York. It was the words I needed to hear, the words that completed the puzzle of my humanity, of my self-esteem, the words that made me feel grateful for once and for real. I helped for free, I felt grateful for once. However, in the end, before I said good bye, I did receive some money in appreciation for my help; but I did not care, I did not quite value it. I was not grateful about the money, I was grateful about the real favor, the real mercy, the actual act of charity I received, those words the completion of myself. Then, as I asked, “how can I pay back”? The good man said, “do something nice for someone.”
Little to nothing I have to say about my trip now, but much I have to say with respect my findings of gratitude. At times, we thank without being thankful, we do so because we must, because we have been taught that everything has to be thanked with words, money (tips) or matter. In such ill-usage of the concept, gratitude can become currency, a form of payment and of gaining for one’s interests, even self-righteousness. Yet, what good is gratitude when it is faked and not heartfelt? What good is gratitude if it is ignored and not valued? It is nothing, just vanity, a mere waste of words, money and agency. Gratitude may be a meaningless action, or a meaningful feeling. Being grateful, sincerely grateful, means to gain in charity, means to have a heart failing at containing any more charity and pouring goodness freely throughout the places we go.
This is my conclusion, that we need to find our true gratitude in everything and in everyone. We need to find what people need and what we need of people. In doing so, we will draw in closer acquaint of what gratitude truly means in each of us; we will understand religion, the Sacrifice and God. We will be happy and make happiness. Gratitude is not about giving, it is about receiving. Need what you want, want what you need.