trying to follow

Wednesday, October 19

on the expression of gratitude

for those with little tolerance for the ramblings of the overly analytic, i recommend not reading the following. for those who enjoy such ramblings, this one isn't the greatest.

sometimes as i and others get off a bus, some of them thank the bus driver. i generally refrain. the way i see it, he is just doing his job. perhaps i would express gratitude if he had waited a few seconds to leave a stop for me to get on, but it seems unnecessary to thank him for driving the bus. i believe there are grounds for complaint in the event that he fails to do his job but fail to see why i should commend him for stopping at my stop.

at the same time, i realize that this sounds insensitive and humbuggish, neither of which i desire to be. i certainly neither condemn friendliness on the part of my peers nor question their motives. rather, i question merely their words. i've considered saying other things to bus drivers, equally friendly things, but am unable to come up with anything that isn't trite ("have a good one", etc.). i am not against positive reinforcement but insist that, on my part, it be genuine and logical.

i experienced similar ambivalence shortly after september 11, 2001. there was an outpouring of gratefulness expressed to the new york fire and police departments. while i appreciate their service, do they deserve praise for doing their job? if we express this gratitude, then are we not insisting that inaction would have been a viable option? i feel that a greater debt of gratitude was owed to the volunteers who attended the aftermath of the disaster; in their case, inaction was a viable option.

i desire consistency. if i am grateful that my bus driver drops me off at my stop, then i should be grateful that beavers build dams.

and yet, i know that i am wrong somehow. if my mother were rescued by a firefighter, then i would be grateful. and i would most definitely express gratitude to him, indeed, just for doing his job. this extends. i know that i am encouraged and delighted when people express gratitude to me for things that i'm supposed to do.

the issue remains for me. what actions deserve gratitude? which do not?


At 12:38 AM, Blogger serenitynow said...


i think what makes gratitude the most called for is motive:
there are people at subway, taco bell, etc who have done their job in making my meal, but that haven't done a neat job and did it with very little concern for me, they got their paycheck, but i appreciate the ones who "put some pride in their work"

gratitude is also due to those who help us, if a doctor saves my life, i am grateful, even if he does it for a paycheck, he didn't have to choose to be a doctor

i got tired of the praise of the firemen and stuff too, if they don't show up to work and do their job, they should be fired, haha, ohh

we have teacher appreciation week, and pastor/clergy (haha) appreciation month and other such stuff, i don't know

to me, the clearest need for gratitude and its expression is from us to God, why?
-He didn't have to help us at all
-it cost Him dearly
-we offended Him
-many of us reject Him completely, or accept Him but still reject Him at times
-no one else could do what He did for us
-He doesn't get paid
-He has pure motives


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