Monday, November 6, 2017

Gratitude and the Gift of Mourning: Tragedy in a Small Texas Town

By Richard Kent Matthews - Coach | Author | Speaker

The Rainbow of Hope. It reminds us to remain strong in the face of tragedy, of darkness.

"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." William Arthur Ward

Saying 'Thank you' is a common courtesy, a nice gesture. We do it all the time, right? Even when it's appropriate to say 'You're welcome,' many people say Thank You at that point as well. Two words, thrown about, well meant, but rather bland for the most part.

Real gratitude

True gratitude is more than a gesture; it's a deep gut feeling and response to a kind of understanding. You know that what you're experiencing is a gift. Not just the individual moments of appreciation, but a recognition that everything around you is part of that gift. Including your 'bad' moments.

Just yesterday, 26 people were gunned down in a church in a small Texas town about 30 miles from San Antonio. The gunman also died. It would appear the people of that little town have no reason whatsoever to be grateful. Whether you're there or not, what possible 'thanks you's' would be appropriate at this moment?

As someone who isn't there and was not personally affected by the massacre, I'm not in the position to tell any of the people there that they should still be grateful. So...

The gift of mourning

As the days pass and the grief eventually subsides a little, people will begin to see some good emerging from the catastrophe. The good is always there, somewhere, in the horror.

But right now, we--I--mourn with them. For the children, the parents, the grandparents, the lovers, the friends and colleagues who were lost in the senseless murders. And for the family of the shooter. They are stunned and grief stricken, but also angry that their family member created this holocaust.

When tragedy strikes, it's better to mourn first. Any miracle embedded in the mess can emerge later.

My heart is with you, little church in Texas.

"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love." Washington Irving

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