I was searching for a quote on gratitude this evening on Google and found one by someone I really admire, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, past president of the USA from January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963 when he was assassinated in Dallas, TX. He was the first Catholic president and was a Democrat. He was most famous for his quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” made during his inauguration speech. This was made in reference to the establishment of The Peace Corps.
I was almost 13 when he was assassinated and I can still remember where I was when it was announced that he was murdered. I was in 7th grade Civics class and my school was closed after the announcement. That weekend the TV was filled with images of the funeral procession. That was the first time I became “politically aware.” Susan…
The quote I chose this evening from JFK is:
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy
The quote has two parts as I can see. The first part is, “As we express our gratitude,” and is stated as a given. It is expected that we express our gratitude from John Kennedy’s viewpoint. It is not an option to go without expressing gratitude. It is that important. Most people who have learned to express gratitude understand how vitally important because it keeps all things, good and bad, in perspective. We give thanks first and figure out the reasons for the situation or event later if at all. We are not told to only express gratitude for the “good” things that happen in our life but all things. Gratitude is an attitude. It is learning to look for the good even in the bad.
The second part of the quote is, “we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” In this part of the quote President Kennedy reminds us not to forget and then you ask, “Not forget what?” We are not to forget that the highest appreciation is not in words but in living those words. That is really deep thinking. That is “inner soul” thinking. If I have to tell you that I appreciate and have gratitude for you but I do not follow up those words with action, then they are just empty words and false. No one should have to guess is he is appreciated or if someone is grateful for him. The same goes for a situation. Being thankful for a situation, even if it is bad, is shown by living true to your words.
An example is if I tell you that I have gratitude for the experiences of the childhood abuse that I experienced but do not show in my actions that I do, then the words ring false. Now that I have recovered from the childhood abuse, I can see not only the horrible parts of the experiences but the good that came from those experiences such as my creativity, my caring, my empathy for others who have been abused, etc. I can see things through the lens of “gratitude” and thanksgiving. Do I do this 100% of the time? No. I am not perfect and don’t strive to be. But I try to live what I believe each day and if I fail, I stand back up and try again. In Alcholics Anonymous and Al-anon, they have a slogan…“Walk the talk.” meaning that your walk (actions) should match your talk (w0rds). In other words, they can see through the bullsh*t.
Are you walking the talk of gratitude or are you just giving it lip service? When you pray or meditate next time, ask your inner soul to let you know.
My gratitude list of 5 things I am grateful for this evening:
- My desire for a life of gratitude.
- The tools that I have been given for gratitude in the form of prayer and meditation.
- My past experiences with Al-anon and AA with their teachings and slogans.
- My Higher Power, whom I call God for allowing me the choice to be thankful or not but always encouraging me to show gratitude for even the bad things in my life.
- My gift of teaching so that others can learn about gratitude.
I hope you enjoyed tonight’s quote and my gratitude list. Return tomorrow for another quote about gratitude or thanksgiving. Good night.
Hope to see you next blog,