“There is always,always something to be thankful for”.
A couple of weeks ago, I was by the machine where one pays the parking fee at the mall. Typical of most machines, they often tend to break down or fail to work automatically,thus there is someone who was there assisting people with the exercise. Owing to the manual system, the queue was a bit long, and almost everyone on it was raving and ranting as they waited for their turn. Once they were served, they’d take their chip, grumble and walk away.Typical of me, I started by greeting the man. He responded with quite a shock on his face. After he had helped me pay the parking fee, I heartily said a ‘Thank You’. This time round, he ignored. Again, I passed my gratitude to him. This time, with a shock in his tone, he looked up at me and asked whether it was him I was talking to. When i confirmed so, he went on to explain that it took him by surprise since it’s on seldom occasions that they are appreciated. He explained to me that many times, people would shout at them, complain and leave without appreciating the work they do.
That reminded me of yet a different occasion around the same time, when I attended a Graduation Party for a friend of mine in one of the hotels in Nairobi. When it was my turn to serve , I said a jolly hi to the chef who was on standby and passed my gratitude for the food he had cooked. In response, he said “Thank you”. For a moment, I thought I had told him something wrong, maybe Goodnight instead of Thank You. While still trying to figure out why he ‘sent back’ my appreciation, a friend of mine explained to me that the chef had appreciated me for appreciating his good work.
This got me thinking- where did the value of Thank You disappear to? Where did the art of having a heart of gratitude go? Typical of today’s holiday- Mashujaa Day– majority of those who are appreciated are the big shots, those who have either sponsored construction of a building, helped the country in the fight for independence, and every other ‘notable act’. While this is not wrong, it stirred my mind- how often do we appreciate those around us? When was the last time you greeted the gate guard? When did you last tell your local vegetable vendor Thank You for cutting your sukuma wiki well?
We are often quick to complain when one thing or another does not go right, but are we ask quick to appreciate when things go smoothly? We are always quick to complain when we are in pain , sorrow or grief. That is the time we often turn back to God questioning why He allows us to suffer, but how many times has He allowed good things to come our way without us going back to Him to say Thank You? Whenever there is the slightest of errors around the house,we fuss and even throw tantrums. For the slightest thing- be it that there isn’t any soap in the bathroom or that breakfast was served five minutes later. How about those days when you woke up and found tea having been placed on the table half an hour before time? Or the time you found your clothes not only washed and ironed, but folded neatly and placed into your closet? The one time the house help delayed a bit and just a few pieces of onion got burnt, the complaint was made and is still used as a point of reference till date- but when is the last time you said Thank You because the food was cooked well, your shoes were polished, your bath water was extra hot?
As we celebrate this Mashujaa Day, as we take time to celebrate our fallen heroes- those who have fallen in war or who bravely led the rest in the struggle of independence, let us not forget the heroes of our daily lives. Not just today but on every other day. It just might be your appreciation that will give him the motivation to move on. For the house-help, the watch guard, the guy who helps with the never-functioning machine at the car park, the cashier at the supermarket are all heroes. Had they been pulled out of life for the slightest of time, life would not be the same. Had it not been for the house-help, you would have to wake up way earlier to wash laundry, iron your outfits, prepare your meals, wash the dishes and mop the house before you leave. And when you return, you’d still have to cook and wash your dishes. Okay, fine- you don’t have a house-help and that doesn’t apply to you. Tell the guy that assists with the broken machine at the parking Thank You,for you’d still be stuck there , not having an option of what to do. Oh yes, you don’t have a car and that does not apply to you either- next time you pass by your local Mama Mboga, tell her thank you , for the vegetables she has cut so finely. You know too well that if you were to do it on your own, you’d have sustained five cuts and still end up with huge chunks of mboga.
Remember that the very chef who you do not want to tell Thank You for providing your Mashujaa Day Dinner or Christmas Day lunch has had to spend time away from family on that holiday for you and your family to have a tasty meal as you enjoy your holiday. Remember that the guy at the car park machine has been there listening to every Tom , Dick and Harry scolding him. Remember that the gate guard spends nights out in the cold guarding the compound for your safety while you were in bed, cozily asleep.
Thank the guard for the keeping guard. Thank the driver for a safe drive home. Thank the house-help for cooking the meal. Thank mom and dad for shelter and clothes. Thank your lecturer for helping you understand a concept. Thank God that you’re alive.Kindness is a virtue. Gratitude is a virtue. Let us adopt the heart and art of gratitude. Learn to say Thank You. Learn to appreciate the things that others do. For while we celebrate the Shujaas that fought for us as a state,there are heroes that go through daily struggled for your well being. Let the now too, that they are heroes.
Complain less. Appreciate more.Make everyday a Mashujaa Day . Celebrate those unmentioned, often forgotten heroes daily, for they too, deserve to be celebrated.
Divide the complaints.Multiply the appreciation. Be thankful. Be grateful.
While at it, ensure that you too are somebody’s hero.