by Father John Walsh.
Every time I am fortunate enough to meet any one of the men who lives at Nazareth House, one of the staff, or one of the volunteers, I leave grateful. I have been taught by them that gratitude can be a way of life. It can be learned and the greatest teachers of gratitude are the people we meet in our everyday lives. When gratitude becomes a way of life it allows us to see that there are so many caring people in the world. It gives us the joy that comes from being attentive to the people who come in and out of our lives. Gratitude moves us from a lack of concern to being concerned, and, then, from being concerned to being attentive, and, finally, from being attentive to being fully aware that the tiniest act of goodness is reason enough to be grateful. Imagine how the world would change if people were to share their gratefulness by constantly appreciating the smallest gestures — thanks for the coffee — thanks for the wonderful lunch — thank you for being you. Appreciation of life creates a gratefulness that is contagious. People who are grateful teach others by their example. Grateful people are real role models. Nothing escapes them. They don’t pass a piece of paper on the floor and leave it for someone else to pick it up – no fuss — they just pick it up spontaneously. They listen, hours on end, to people who are just rambling on, making no sense whatsoever – they know the person is more important than what they are trying to say. They see life as a human being … just “being” teaches humans what to “do.” We cannot be always be “doing” something; it could make us forget what it is to be a human “being.” The grateful are the people who cause us to look within ourselves to discover that we have all that it takes to become grateful. The great poetess Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote a poem and asked the question, “How Do I Love Thee? And she answered by saying, Let me count the ways. She is not referring to a calculated number but to the incalculable ways one can be grateful. One moment of gratefulness is a moment that last a lifetime. At Nazareth House there are many reasons to be grateful. No one dares to count the ways. It is a way of life.