On Giving Gratitude

So, for work every day, I’ve had to be at a particular geographic area around lunch time. There’s one of those Chinese express takeout places there, and so — also in a general attempt to eat healthier and eat fewer carbs — I’ve been going there and getting two portions of the plain roast chicken and steamed vegetables.

I’ve been doing this for a few weeks now, and it’s always the same lady working there, and by now she knows what I’ll be ordering every day, and today she gave me a smile, sneakily glanced over to her manager, then snuck in some extra chicken, and smiled at me again.

It’s such a small thing. But it got me thinking about the total mundanity of life, and how it is up to us to create the meaning and joy that so many of us desperately crave. Yes, she brought a smile to my face and lifted my mood slightly. And also way, way more than that: she brought a smile to her own face and lifted her own mood.

One of the basically universal conditions of life is that: you suffer deep. If you can not only find gratitude in the small things, but go even further and create moments of gratitude in others — wow, one has the possibility of moving from coping to thriving.

I always see the lady at the Chinese express takeout place smiling. Her joy feels genuine.

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