Two simple words, when spoken simply and offered sincerely, are an expression of gratitude that can be balm to the soul. It is an expression that can launch so much good. Think about how you feel when someone offers a sincere 'thank you' for something that you've done. You're spurned on to do more of the same. Doing more good is never a bad thing.
Today, the United States celebrates Thanksgiving. Now a day more celebrated for its excess (food, pre-Christmas sales, drunken family fights that can only be solved by the power of She Who Must Be Obeyed, Adele - click here for the proof), at its arguably forgotten core, this is a day of gratitude. It is a day to pause, reflect (go ahead, count your blessings!), and to give thanks for what we have. Even if you think the things for which you can be grateful are meager, the fact is that you are so much better off than so many others in this world.
When you consider the meaning of gratitude, it is not only being thankful, but it also embodies being ready to return a kindness shown to you. Demonstrating that gratitude can be as simple as those two little words: thank you. It is an act of kindness. Those acts need not be grandiose. A smile at the elderly woman in the grocery store who is writing a check (rather than a sneer and the burning urge to display a middle finger). Declaring a ceasefire in your Twitter war with our nation's long-suffering national passenger rail provider. Offering to help the lady who has somehow managed to lug 34 carry-on bags onto the plane find places for her crap in the overhead bin, instead of wishing a pox on her. So those examples may be things I need to work on, allegedly, but you get my drift.
Be ready to return a kindness. On those opportunities, Ralph Waldo Emerson said,
You cannot do a kindness too soon,
for you never know how soon it will be too late.
Say thank you today. Say it every day. May your Thanksgiving table be surrounded in gratitude. Even if it winds up looking something like this, there is still much for which to be grateful: