Community//

“When eating fruit, remember the one who planted the tree.”

This lovely ancient proverb from Vietnam reminds us of something we all already know: The importance of feeling deep gratitude for the good people and the good fortune in our lives, no matter how large or small.

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We are living in uncertain and unsettling times. And to survive and thrive, we need calm, we need strength, we need conviction, we need resilience, and I believe, we need gratitude. Because no one does this alone.

Hopefully there are, in all of our lives, ordinary and extraordinary blessings that we choose to appreciate and embrace—for some of us we have children or grandchildren or parents or siblings or a beloved dog or cat who need our love and attention and give us countless blessings.  For others it may be a job that demands our passion and persistence, or a cause or mission that drives us. 

For most of us, we have had people in our past or present for whom we are deeply grateful—people who are there for us when times get tough—when we needed to talk—and when just hearing their voice, just hearing the pure hello on the phone is enough to lift our spirits.

I want to share with you some of my favorite words and poems from people I admire so much about gratitude, about resilience, and about the inner light of every human being.

Albert Schweitzer was an extraordinary human being: medical doctor and surgeon, author, man of the cloth, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952. I love his quote on gratitude—I repeat it all the time:

“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”

One underlying message of gratitude is that we should appreciate whatever gift comes our way, be it grand or modest. Happiness comes from the acceptance.

As the Buddhist proverb advises: “Enough is a feast.”

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