Once upon a time, a man went to visit his mother-in -law. He had sent her word of his intent so she prepared elaborately for his arrival. She fetched fresh pineapples, oranges, apples, almonds and walnuts from her farms for dessert. She ordered the freshest of palm wine from the villages most renown wine-tapper. She killed one of her chickens, took the choicest piece of fish in her pantry and generous helpings of stock fish and crayfish to make her son-in-law a delicious plate of afang soup. Then she pounded his yam herself and set the table.
Her son-in-law arrived on time. He began with the fruits and palm wine. A few mouthfuls into the pounded yam, he found that he was full. His mother-in-law packed the remains of the meal for him in her best food warmer and fastened it on his bicycle.
as he was leaving, her son in law turned to her.
“Mama Uyai, I can not say how thankful I am for all you you have done. I have no mouth to express my appreciation.”
Mama Uyai stared at her son-in-law in shock. Briskly, she walked over to the food warmer that had been tied to the bicycle carrier and loosened it.
“It is good that you can not say how thankful you are. It is even better that you ‘have no mouth to express’ your appreciation. I will count the food in your belly as a loss. But this one in the food flask is following me home. You mute mouth-less ingrate!” With a long drawn out hiss, she took her flask and stormed off.
The story recounted above has kept me amused for years. I see a lot of human relations nuggets in it.
(What lessons can you see?)
Today, I am focusing on the message. The message is this: a little thanks goes a long way.
This week I read an article about the things we should be thankful for. (Who do atheists thank?) The writer thought 30 days of thankfulness was ‘like saccharine.’ I hissed at the thought. 366 days is barely enough to thank. We get blessings every second: the effortless blinking of our eyes, breathing in and out, visiting the toilet without tubes or machines, and more.
I consider myself a thankful person, but most of all I teach people to have a gratitude attitude. Gratitude changes the way you experience life. It mutes the bad and amplifies the beautiful.
Everyone has challenges. Even God, wasn’t there war in heaven? Even angels, wasn’t the angel sent to Daniel resisted for 21 days? So challenges shouldn’t make us lose sight of our blessings.
One thing Dr Mike Murdock (@drmikemurdock on Twitter) taught me was to mute any undesirable message. Decide to make the good things in your life louder than the bad. Make up your mind to be thankful. A counter. A person that is happy to have a glass, and something in it, full, half-full or any where in between.
Awesome things happen when we are thankful. Jesus thanked God and five loaves fed five thousand. A leper came back to give thanks in the bible and was made whole.
Bitterness is a killer. It robs you of what ever you lack and steals the joy from what you have. Choose to be thankful. After all, someone’s earnest prayer is to be where you are. Learn to look at the good things happening around you. Stay around thankful people. Thankfulness is contagious.
Be the sort of person everyone wants to help/bless, not one whose mother-in-law has to abuse and down-grade.
Be a winner, be thankful.