Reflecting On Gratitude

www.mysmallstillvoice.wordpress.comAs a young bride in 1975, my favorite part of the whole wedding festivities was writing the thank you notes.  We received many beautiful gifts, most from my husband’s family friends, people who had not even met me. Yet they were thoughtful and generous in wishing us well and helping us embark on married life well-outfitted.

“You received a fondue pot from the Smiths,” my mother-in-law would report to me when the gifts arrived at her home. “And Cousin Mabel sent you eight silverware settings!”

Such kindness could not go unacknowledged!

So I would reach for my beautiful Crane’s notecards – rich, creamy bordered in olive green, emblazoned with my initials – and sat to express my gratitude for such kindness, thoughtfulness, generosity.  It was often weeks, sometimes months, before I would see the gifts.  The notes, however, went out right away.  I would sit and imagine the thought and care that went into the choice of gift.  Share in my mother-in-law’s excitement at opening the packages and describing their contents.  Smile at the stories I heard from my new family: “Does your daughter-in-law spell her name m-a-r-g-u-e-r-i-t-a?” someone asked my father-in-law once as they bumped into each other at a restaurant.  “No,” he answered. “She spells it the other way.” And walked away.  Inspired by these imaginings, I would then put pen to card and let my heart speak.

I realize now, all these decades later, that in writing all those thank you notes I was given an even more valuable gift: the practice of gratitude.  Back then, once the notes were written, I simply got on with life, caught up in the excitement of getting married, moving to a new place, being a grown-up.  I did not understand the subtle and profound effect the accidental gratitude practice brought to my life.

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to have much to be grateful for and many opportunities to express thankfulness.  However, it’s taken me this long to understand just how important a conscious practice of expressing thanks is in my life.

Here’s to a little more conscious practice in 2015!





28 thoughts on “Reflecting On Gratitude

  1. What a beautiful post, Margarita. I wish we’d all begin that simple practice again of writing thank you notes. But the gratitude part is so important, as you say. I’ve found that if I’m in a down mood or begin to feel sorry for myself, if I stop and truly realize the blessings in my life, it changes my perspective. Works every time and your post did that for me this morning. Thank you and Happy New Year.

    1. Happy New Year, dear Brigitte! Yes, it’s an easy practice, to just remember to thank. In contemplation, I see it as another facet of that wondrous jewel: Love. And how can one not smile when touching Love? xoxoM

    1. Well…not exactly 40 years of marriage, Maggie. 40 years of gratitude for THAT marriage, all it brought me, all I learned and experienced during it, the love and strength it took to release myself from it, and the smiles its memories still bring to my lips.

      Happy new year, Maggie! xoxoM

  2. I’m a sucker for thank you notes and I appreciate writing them as much as I do receiving. This art has been lost, but more importantly the importance of gratitude easily gets lost too.
    Thank you for this important reminder! Today I a grateful for this reminder … it really isn’t hard.

    Ps. Crane cards rock!

  3. What a nice memory! And 1975 — one of my favorite years! I’ve been trying to do the gratitude thing lately. Just waking up and being glad to have a warm apartment, etc. This was buttressed by a friend suggesting I watch “The Secret.” I usually dismiss stuff like that but finally gave in and actually really got into it. Well, after watching the movie all this crap started happening to me that undermined my attitude — hahahaha! So — good to be reminded about gratitude!

    Looking forward to next month, Margarita! AND — I LOVE your gravatar — yay! I saw it in my reader. Okay, I’ve clogged up your comment section enough for two weeks — see you soon!

    1. 1975 WAS a good year! lol Yes, gratitude is a good practice as a foundation to the principles in “The Secret.” We’ll talk more soon. Looking forward to it! xoxoxoM

    1. These days, my thank you notes are more likely to be in a text or e-mail than on a lovely Crane’s notecard. I, too, have an expressing gratitude journal to chronicle my thoughts and feelings about gratitude as well as to list what I’m grateful for so that I may revisit and remember. I, too, am enjoying a second marriage. The first one turned out to be a wonderful dress rehearsal for the one I’m enjoying now! xoxoM

  4. Gratitude seems to be scarce in our modern world. I fear too many busy parents felt other traits were more important to impress upon their children. Perhaps if more people took the time to be grateful for the people and things in their lives, they might be less jealous of others—and less likely to expect and demand more from them. Just a thought. 🙂

    I’m grateful that there are still individuals in the world like you who strive to make a difference!

    1. Thank you, JM! I think we ALL strive to make a difference in the world…we just don’t all express it the same way. 😉

      Yes, instead of just insisting on “please” and “thank you” by rote when educating our children, a gentle illumination of what those words mean could be helpful! xoxoM

  5. I needed this reminder. Thank you! 8)
    I once sent a card for a professional courtesy that was given to me and I received a call back. They thanked me for the thank you. “No one ever does that!” 8)

    1. Yes. As I once more embrace this practice, this time with awareness, I’m fascinated by the unintended and unexpected consequences to which I’m opening myself. Early days yet, Katie, and I’m looking forward to the adventures I’m embarking on! xoxoM

    1. Thanks, Arman. Gratitude lifts my spirit, effortlessly puts a spring in my step, and brings a joy and lightness to my life. It makes it easier to see and appreciate the beauty in my life! 😉 xoxoM

  6. Yes. I can’t say that the thank you notes for my wedding gave me the same feeling (I am now divorced, perhaps that is why..) but the concept of gratitude, yes, yes yes! What a lovely post. It is definitely a practice, something I try to do daily and succeed (mostly!).

    1. Like yours, that marriage did not endure. Even so, I’m grateful for all the wonderful gifts it gave me, both the material and the less tangible. Succeed (mostly) is pretty darn good! 😉 xoM

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