How does anyone begin to repay a lifetime of gratitude?
I have innumerable debts that I know I will never be able to pay back, pay forward, or pay sideways, even if I dedicate my entire life to service.
In the past decade, I have received an organ transplant from a living related donor. My beautiful angel in Heaven received a transplant from a child whose loving parents chose to share a piece of their beautiful angel. I have depended on countless individuals who continue to stand by my side no matter how deep I let my grief consume me, how angry I become at this life, or how impossibly I react to the challenges life deals me.
I have suffered. Maybe more, maybe less, than those around me, but I suffer. And I hurt, deeply, every single day I walk this Earth without my sweet angel in Heaven.
And in that suffering, an immense army of individuals formed who has not only helped, but made me the survivor I am today.
Sure, I can say thank you a thousand times. I can send thank you notes, hand written with envelopes decorated in stickers, to express my gratitude. I can show my appreciation through friendship, love and support, the best way I know how.
And if I were to ask any of these individuals how I might repay them for all they have done, every single one of them would say they did what they did out of love. Purely and simply. No ‘thank you’ needed. No repayment of the debt. No IOU, no guilty feelings, no uneasiness that maybe something is a little off balance because I have been the recipient of graciousness more than I have been the giver.
They just do what they do out of love. Those are the people in my corner. That’s my team.
I had the ability, just recently, to help out a dear loved one with an opportunity. It is rare, so rare, especially in the last few years, that I have been able to offer anyone anything, other than maybe to listen or offer some kind words and support.
But I had this opportunity and I took one very small action that led to someone else feeling gratitude toward me. And what I wanted was the same as all those who’ve offered me unendless support, and favors, and love, and kindness.
I wanted nothing. Because giving, helping, assisting someone with something, anything, feels so good in its own right.
I just did it out of love. An unconditional love I have for this person. And a love I have for being able to do anything, anything, to finally help someone other than myself. To be able to step back, remove myself from my own needs, and just be selfless.
I don’t think there could be anything more gratifying on this Earth.