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Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

Thanksgiving-in-Prov-RIEarlier this month I wrote about a restaurant founded on gratitude. I liked something the owner said: “gratitude spills over,” meaning if someone does something nice for you it makes you feel like doing something nice for someone else. It got me thinking more about  gratitude, and I decided to make a list.

Suzanne’s Mom is grateful for: A peaceful neighborhood to live in, shelter, food, clothing, other people, a way to make a living, music, art, theater, books, poetry, nature. And especially, my family and a baby who lights up with a megawatt smile when I arrive, a one-year-old who wants to snuggle on the rug with a book, and a three-year-old who exclaims with wonder, “Grandma! Are you my daddy’s mommy?!”

Photo: AllSeasons4Tenants

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Pavithra Mehta writes at Yes! Magazine about a network of restaurants where guests are asked to “pay it forward.”

Mehta’s explanation is a little far out for me, but I know I wouldn’t mind eating at one of these places. They sound cheerful. And I would be happy to pay it forward.

“In Berkeley, Calif.,” Mehta writes, “the Karma Kitchen restaurant bases its business on the concept of gratitude. Each visitor can pay nothing or voluntarily pay for a meal for a future guest. …

“The bill comes with a note that explains their meal was a gift from someone who came before them. If they wish to pay it forward, they can make a contribution for someone who comes after them …

“More than six years [after its founding], Karma Kitchen is still going strong. It has served more than 30,000 meals and now has chapters in half-a-dozen cities around the world. And it is all sustained by gratitude.

“Karma Kitchen works on the deceptively simple premise that the heart that fills, spills. The nature of gratitude is to overflow its banks and circulate. It does not stand still. But remove that ineffable quality from the equation, and the virtuous cycle breaks down.

“The sociologist Georg Simmel called gratitude ‘the moral memory of mankind.’ It serves to connect us to each other in small, real, and human ways. Remove it from the fabric of our lives, and all relationship becomes an endless series of soulless transactions.”

More at Yes! here.

Video: Seva Café , Gujarat, India

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Suzanne pointed me to a special story about a high school classmate, Taishana Lewis, whose gratitude to the EMTs who saved her brother’s life led to a career change.

Melissa M. Werthmann wrote about it in the Boston Globe today.

“A worried sister called her younger brother one warm June night in 2009 to see if he wanted a ride home. There was no answer.

“Taishana Lewis soon learned that Matthew Lewis-Grant had been shot five times while leaving a barbecue. Thanks to the efforts of Boston EMS responders, Lewis-Grant survived the drive-by shooting.

“Now his sister is determined to give someone else the same chance. Grateful for her brother’s rescue and inspired by the commitment of emergency responders, Lewis graduated from the Boston EMS Academy today.

“ ‘I’d like to be able to give back what was given to my family and hopefully give someone that same reward of getting their loved one back,’ Lewis said. …

“Lewis-Grant, 25, now lives in Florida, but made the trip back north to see his sister graduate as an EMT and pin the badge on her at the ceremony, she said.

“ ‘He’s excited,’ she said. ‘He’s super-proud.’ ” More.

Photograph: David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
Taishana Lewis, with son Tyler Lewis looking on, gets her badge from her brother, Matthew Lewis-Grant.

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I’ve been thinking about angels and how almost anyone might be an angel at any moment in time. An ex-con who rescues a baby from a burning building is an angel to that baby’s family.

When I read this Boston Globe essay by Carlo Rotella (Boston College director of American Studies) I thought that — even though they all mispronounced his name — the people shouting encouragement as he ran a grueling marathon were angels to him that day. Especially a stranger he calls Mustache Man.

“Thank you, Mustache Man of Lowell,” Rotella writes, “and the rest of you no-r-pronouncing Samaritans along the race route. You said my name, badly, when I badly needed to hear it.”

And I’m thinking of a particularly nice thing that happened to me some years ago, after a dark time with chemo. Two completely unconnected friends chose Thanksgiving Day to acknowledge some little favor, which I learned was more than “little” to them. It was such a treat to receive their e-mails, one from China! I felt touched by two angels that Thanksgiving.

P.S. I hope it will not detract too much from the high-minded tone of this post if I do a kindness for Suzanne and point to the angel wing at Luna & Stella, the company that gives me permission to blog on “anything that interests me.”

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