Saturday, I needed to go to the grocery store. So, of course, I switched on the television and channel surfed awhile. One station was interviewing the homeless man who had been given a pair of boots by a policeman. This picture has become an internet sensation. The point of this particular story on Saturday was that the man was no long wearing his boots and, in the words of the reporter, did not seem “especially grateful.”
Gratitude is a virtue, and as Oprah has told us many times, it goes a long way to make us happy people. But I’m thinking of the other side of the coin here. What happens when we’re the givers and no gratitude is expressed?
Of course, religions tell us to give without expectation, but apparently that is easier said than done. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard people complain that someone didn’t say thanks, or acknowledge a gift or a kindness.
There is certainly nothing wrong with our wanting our generosity to be acknowledged and appreciated. But if it becomes so important that we’re always assessing where we are in the give versus receive tally, then it might be time to take action.
So this week, give something anonymously with the recipient never knowing who you are. And let the joy of giving can be in simply the giving.