To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.
Not one of us knows what effect his life produces, and what he gives to others; that is hidden from us and must remain so, though we are often allowed to see some little fraction of it, so that we may not lose courage. – Albert Schweitzer
I was standing in the express line at the local market waiting to check out my two purchases. I was tired, it had been a long day, and all I wanted to do was get home, eat dinner, and hop into bed with the current book I was reading. The woman in front of me obviously had more than the fifteen items she was limited to in this lane but I knew she wanted to get home and bring her day to an end as much as I. We waited for the customer in front of us to write a check, which was not approved, so, she then paid with cash. I felt the frustration in both of us as we patiently waited. Then the lady in front of me told me to go ahead of her even though she had been waiting as patiently and longer than I.
“Thank you,” I said, “but you have been waiting too. Go ahead.”
She insisted I move ahead of her. I hesitated before she said, “We have to take care of our librarians.”
I thanked her, moved to the checkout register, thanked her again and left.
As an employee in the local library, I served hundreds of patrons each day. I know, and address many by their first name but I did not remember the lady in line. She remembered me. I was reminded with this incident how important our everyday interactions are. How others are affected by their interactions with me. How important it is to treat every person who comes into my life with gratitude simply for their presence. To treat every person with care and appreciation. To acknowledge each as a guest in my home, even the more difficult ones.
With this incident, I was given the opportunity to witness how my daily interactions affect others, including those I do not know. I was repaid in kindness for the kindness I gave “so that I might not lose courage” in the tasks and duties I perform each day in the service of others.