|Photo Credit: Kenn W. Kiser from morgueFile.com|
My precious mother-in-law had to stay in the hospital recently for some testing. Yes, you read that right. I said precious AND mother-in-law in the same sentence. I admire this woman greatly and feel so blessed by her. She is beautiful inside and out. I am inspired by how she loves, cares, and prays for her family, and by the way she raised the incredible man that I married. I love countless things about her, but specifically her loyalty, kindness, encouragement, faith, optimism, and contagious happiness.
Personally, I think it would be hard to continue spreading happiness while sitting in a hospital bed, but somehow, she managed to do it. That’s just her style. That’s how she rolls.
She said that each and every one of her nurses was so patient and attentive to her. She appreciated their care and she was sure to let them know. I bet all of the nurses were fighting over who would get to have her!
And, while many might moan and groan about having to be in the hospital and eat “hospital food,” she chose to take a different approach. She said she was very appreciative that she didn’t have to cook the meals and wanted to be sure that the kitchen staff knew. So, after each meal, she would write a little note and place it under the plate cover. The notes read, “The meal was delicious!” or “Yum! You did it again!” or “Thanks for everything. Signed, Room 330.”
I’m assuming that someone working hard down in the kitchen received those little notes of gratefulness and smiled. A small piece of paper…a tiny gesture…that had the potential for a really big impact. I’m sure that one of the staff members thought, “Some kind person in room 330 noticed my hours of behind-the-scenes cooking and was thankful.”
There are three “G’s” that come to mind when I think about what the happiest people on this earth have in common: gratitude, generosity, and God. They continually count their blessings. They never stop giving of their time, talent, treasure, and themselves. They never cease prayer.
While many sources in today’s culture suggest that selfishness is a pathway to happiness, I’m more and more convinced that instead, it’s gratitude, generosity, and God. Many times, when we are self-absorbed and think only of what WE want, we fall into a mire of restlessness and discontentment.
As Matthew Kelly says, “It is often through our generosity that we are able to bring the love of God to life for others in very real and tangible ways.” The sweet lady in room 330 was bringing the love of God to life for someone during her hospital stay. I’m sure of it. Even if she was nervous or scared, she didn’t let that stop her gratitude and generosity from flowing in abundance. She was generous with her praise, appreciation, and encouragement toward those who cared for her.
Another piece of Kelly’s wisdom to consider is this: “God invites us to a life of gratitude while the world fosters discontent. God proposes trust; the world arouses fear. God promotes giving; the world promotes getting. God invites us to cooperate with His providence while the world rallies behind self-determinism. God appoints us in stewardship while the world touts ownership. The world encourages entitlement when in reality, everything is a gift from God. God invites us to look out for our neighbor; the world tells us to look out for ourselves.”
While Betty was in the hospital, I admired her ability to stay grateful. It’s easier to feel gratitude when things are going our way, right? But, it’s not quite as easy to have a thankful attitude when they aren’t.
It seems to me that genuinely happy people, like her, have an overwhelming sense that their lives have been abundantly blessed, no matter where they are or what they’re going through. They are always mindful of the people who bless their lives in some way. They often think about the ordinary things that make them feel blessed – food on the table, a roof over their head, and clothes on their back. They say prayers of thanksgiving for a safe trip, a good health report, a child’s accomplishment, and friends who love them.
Many times, we think of all we don’t have. I know I feel a whole lot better when I focus on all that I do have. As Matthew Kelly suggests…next time we are in a bad mood or become overwhelmed by a situation, we need to ask ourselves if we are grateful. “It is impossible to be grateful and be in a bad mood. When we step away from gratitude, we become irritable, restless, and discontented.”
I’m positive that the employee who found her notes was glad that the patient in room 330 hadn’t stepped away from gratitude. Thank you, room 330, for yet another example of how to show God’s love through something as simple as a generous serving of gratefulness.
Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!