Rev. Wayne Walder: Being Gracious

Have you ever sat by a fountain?  The spray is white and light in the air.  Maybe a rainbow is visible when you look at the water in just the right way.  Even at night the water plays with the light and offers a graceful contrast to buildings of brick and cement.  The arc of water and its soft sound are good to be around.

I used to think it was silly to throw coins into a fountain.  I didn’t believe a wish would come true if you threw your pennies into the water.  But now I throw them in all the time.  For me, the coins are a way I can give back to the fountain in exchange for its beauty.  When I am reminded that life is lyrical, like the arc of water in the fountain, I feel good.  I throw the coins in thankfulness that someone, in this difficult and competitive world, still wants to remind us about life’s gracefulness.  The coins are my thanks, a simple giving back.

Thankfulness is free.  It is also freeing.  When I give thanks freely, something inside of me softens.  My eyes notice more. My mind quiets down and gives me space to wonder. It is so simple.

It helps me have beginner’s mind and I find this offers a wonderful perspective.  We can be thankful of many, many things.

Sometimes I don’t have the energy to be thankful.  Sometimes my judgment or my resentment is so strong I don’t want to say thank you.  Maybe you have felt this too.  Someone does something “nice,” but it is done in a way that doesn’t feel nice at all.  My inability to be gracious makes me sad.

So, when I am angry or tired, I allow the words “thank you” to slip out of my mouth.  It is easier if I let go of my ideas and conceptions.  I breath out and with my breath say, “Thank you.”  It feels a little like the breeze of life.

Will you try it?  Make eye contact and say ”thank you.”


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