“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough.” — Melody Beattie
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There may be nothing romantic about a dead mouse, but the day I came home and discovered one on my doorstep, my heart welled with love.
Mr. Scoots is an orange cat who lives in the barn behind my apartment building. He got his name because whenever anyone comes near him, he scoots away. Hence the name Mr. Scoots.
One day this past winter I met Mr. Scoots in the parking lot and instead of scooting away as usual he simply looked up at me and meowed the meekest meows I’d ever heard. It was adorable! And a big deal, because Scoots never meows and certainly never doesn’t scoot.
It was the first major snowfall of the season and one of the coldest days yet. Considering the circumstances, his out-of-character behavior could mean only one thing. Mr. Scoots was asking me for help.
Since that day I’ve kept a close eye on him to make sure he has food and water every day. I also invite him to come inside out of the cold, but he always politely declines the invitation. He is Mr. Scoots, afterall.
Yet despite the coyness, I can tell he appreciates the help I offer. The way he meows excitedly when I come home, rolls around on the ground showing me his belly, and looks at me with those precious eyes.Oh my goodness those precious eyes!
But most of all, I know he appreciates my kindness because cats have a funny way of expressing appreciation. As a gesture of their gratitude, they are apt to present their favorite people with a dead mouse.
So the day I discovered a dead mouse on my doorstep I knew it could mean only one thing. Mr. Scoots truly appreciates my kindness.
Gratitude is a valuable gift that can transform the experiences of everyone involved. It signals to the other person that you acknowledge their kind gesture, making them feel appreciated and valued, and it also signals to yourself that what you have received is a valued gift.
Sure, even if Mr. Scoots never demonstrated his cat-like gratitude, I’d likely still watch out for him, but how often have we forgotten to recognize the kindness of others, discouraging them from continuing such positive behavior by ignoring the generosity of others and instead biting the proverbial hands that feed us?
Without gratitude, we risk falling into a scarcity mindset that can never satisfy; and yet, with an attitude of gratitude, it can turn what we have already received into more than enough.
How do you express gratitude for the kindness of others?
Jonas Cain is an instructional designer, facilitator of fascination, and purveyor of positivity—helping to initiate and manage positive change for individual, team, and community growth.