The Thanksgiving leftovers have long since vanished from the fridge; except for one cookie so beautiful I cannot bring myself to even remove the wrapper. A local pastry chef worked her magic creating that sweet work of art.
In addition to the cookie, I have another remnant from the past holiday. This one I created, it is intangible and something I will continue to possess.
You see, this year I decided to put a spin on my usual Thanksgiving outreach. Rather than expressing my thanks to friends and family via Facebook posts, emails and colorful Hallmark cards, I spent Thanksgiving and each day since then executing actions that might elicit thankfulness.
Don’t get me wrong, gratitude was not the objective, actually quite the opposite. My premise was to focus my energy into random acts of kindness, no strings attached, no thanks required or needed. Okay, here’s the catch. Thinking up nice things to do for others is the easy part, executing is the fun part, but truly not caring if the deed ever gets even a small nod of thanks, is the hard part. At least it is for me.
For example, I am a very considerate driver. I happily wave people into my lane. I hold the door for others, in the grocery store I reach objects from the top shelf for strangers, let them cash out in front of me when they have just a few items, I volunteer at events and engage in community outreach. I do whatever I can to accommodate those around me, but I must confess I crave just a little payback. I silently fume a bit when a simple thank you is withheld.
My attitude changed earlier this month when I read this line from a prayer: “Blessed are those who give without expecting anything in return.” Okay, got the message. I needed to change my expectation. When I pondered this quote from Timber Hawkeye it really put me to shame: “Give without expecting anything in return. That is unconditional kindness…everything else is ego.” Oh, I am so busted. Wanting something in return was a way to feed my ego.
I’ll keep challenging myself daily to want nothing in return. Motivation to give should be pure and free of expectation. The good news is, I’ve been getting it right lately and realize there is an inherent payback.
The act of giving provides me with an enhanced sense of peace, love and joy. Thankfully, that is more than enough.