Thursday, December 22, 2016

In Gratitude We Become

In the late 1930s, the economy is just picking up after years of the Great Depression.

The farm next door to Grandma Parker's farm has been abandoned for months; the owners lost it to the bank. There were years of drought and with no water for the crops, keeping up with the payments was impossible. The farm is now for sale and the bank is asking $870--a small fortune considering the time.

Grandma Parker has a dream to own the farm next door. She dresses in her Sunday best and walks confidently into the bank. The banker tells her if she wants the farm, she has to have a down payment. It's impossible to come up with any kind of money, but Grandma Parker can't let the thoughts of that idle farm out of her mind.

One day while walking through the farm she wants to buy, she takes a closer look at three silos standing tall in a field. She discovers they are full of wheat. She returns to the bank.

"What comes with the farm?" she asks.

"Everything," says the banker.

"Including the grain in the silos?"

"Well, I suppose, if there's grain in the silos, it would come with the farm."

"What if I could sell the wheat--could I use it as a down payment?"

The banker tells her if she can sell the wheat, the farm is hers.

The wheat sells.

Grandma Parker has her down payment.

The next year, the rains are plentiful and the family reaps a bumper crop. The farm is paid off in a year and a half.

Grandma Parker was my friend Bill's grandmother, and he inherited her tenacity. When people need a job done, need help or guidance, they call Bill.

In these few days before Christmas, I've been writing down people, ideas, and ways in which I'm thankful. From Bill's Grandma, Bill's actions, I have gleaned a small list of gratitude: friends who are examples, people who share their stories, people who think beyond the apparent.

I believe the things in which we feel gratitude, are the very things that become our own characteristics. In gratitude we recognize, in gratitude we appreciate, in gratitude we become.

If one advances in the direction of his own dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. Henry David Thoreau

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