We should be more thankful for no particular reason
After a 6 hour flight from Miami to San Francisco we finally arrived. Nice sky and not one cloud in the sky; lucky me I hate low ceiling landings. The plane pull in to the tarmac and the passengers seemed irritated as they hurriedly picked up their bags and marched towards the exit, trampling others trying to get there first. I waited patiently for my turn like a good citizen. On my way towards the front of the plane I see the captain standing by the door, a tall and serious man with as many flight hours as wrinkles on his face. He looked at each exiting passenger and said something along the lines of “Have a nice day”. Passengers barely acknowledge as they hurry out the door. I don’t know what possessed me but without thinking I said – “Thank you so much for flying this machine safely, I appreciate your knowledge; I certainly could not do it myself. I feel very happy to have arrived here in one piece. Thanks to you so much.”
I noticed the business like facade of the captain melted as he transform into an old friend. I could see the appreciation in his eyes after a simple and spontaneous gesture. I was surprised too, it just came out of me without thinking – sincerity just flowed out.
When we pay attention to what others are doing and how their actions benefits us, is what inspire me to say things like that. We tend to take our modern lives for granted going day to day using fancy services, buying things and relying on others but never thinking how much love and dedication went into creating and maintaining the lifestyle we enjoy.
Our daily routine has two sides: in one there is a business as usual approach and in the other there is the love and dedication we pour into our jobs. Most people are stuck in the business side. We go about our life without thinking much. We buy things, drive our cars, call the plumber, look at our cell phone one million times. We call this our life the daily grind. We wish we’re on a vacation in some exotic place just to escape the boredom. If we just pay attention joy can be right there within the most mundane moments. If we focus on appreciation of others our boring relationships can be transformed into something that is deep and rich. The reasons we end up getting involved with our professions offer us clues on how we can be more present. We live in a world of opportunity.
People that came before us built the world. Knowledge and discovery have been passed down from generation to generation. We are surrounded by wealth. Nurses, doctors, engineers, all types of professionals provide us amazing services. Factory workers produce our gadgets oversees; we don’t know who they are but someone out there is doing the work so we can enjoy our Christmas gifts. If we think a little deeper; everything we enjoy are gifts of humanity. If we look at ourselves we see that we are here to provide for others. We go about our business, working and providing for others we care a lot when someone appreciates what we do.
This is so obvious in nursing. When a patient goes through a hard time, they are often brought to this appreciation space. They look at you with a sincerity of heart and say how much they appreciate you being there and you know they mean every word they say. Those are perhaps the best moments of our professional lives. No pay check could come close to the satisfaction a little recognition brings. I see that over and over. On the other hand we notice when someone doesn’t appreciate our work and just feels entitled to what you have to offer. It is amazing how you can turn dull moments into the most joyful ones by just appreciating other people’s work.
We dedicate hours of labor in order to do our jobs well. We do it for money but money alone would not keep us focused for too long. We chose our professions because it is something that speaks to us. Our daily activity is always related to others: in essence we live to serve. So when someone pays attention to what we do, it is the ultimate validation for our own existence and there is nothing more fulfilling than that. This is easy to test: genuinely ask someone to tell you what they do at work and watch how their faces light up like a Christmas tree; they are so interested they will tell you every detail.
Some people say when receiving recognition is a better feeling than getting paid money. Spiritual fulfillment goes way further than cash. I think what makes us so joyous is to be acknowledged and to feel we are important and that we matter. I noticed that in the captain’s smile when I told him I was thankful to be alive and his contribution and dedication in those 6 hours in the air made a difference. Next time you board a plane think about how much you owe to everyone who made everything run smooth for you and transported you safely from one place to another. Just a thought.
Image credit: flickr.com