The following is an excerpt from a message I sent out to my staff.
Some of you may remember that I have talked about gratitude in the past. While I certainly don’t have all the answers, I have found this principle of gratitude to be one of them. I would like to focus on it again today.
Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” I am convinced that from gratitude springs forth compassion and forgiveness. I believe they follow in that order. If I may, I would like to share with you a personal story to illustrate this.
My teenage son was giving a speech, and during it another parent texted me telling me how awful it was. At first, I felt very upset and wondered what kind of person would think it was ok to do something like this. But then I paused and asked myself, “how could I be grateful for this experience.” I then thought to myself how unique of an experience it was and how I might be able to use this experience to help others. As I thought of this, I said a little prayer of gratitude, and I felt the anger melt away. Afterward, I met with that parent and talked with them, and having the anger gone, I was able to listen. I don’t think the details of that conversation are necessary except to convey that I was able to have compassion as I was able to listen. Then after that, another miracle took place, and I was able to forgive them for what they had said. Because I was able to understand them and have compassion, I was able to look upon them with kindness rather than anger.
I think this pattern can be replicated in almost any setting we are in. COVID has been difficult with all the rules restricting in-person access to each other. There is still so much turmoil going on in our country and around the world. Media loves to report the negative, after all, if everything is good, there is no need to pay attention. I am not saying we should ignore the troubles, but we could do with some more gratitude. I would like to invite you to focus on gratitude and see if it changes you. It may sound silly or over-simplistic, but I believe it works. It does take time, and it does take practice, but it can change our perspective and how we interact with others.
I personally am very grateful to be able to work with all of you. I believe we have put together an amazing team here at HPMC. We have gone through some rough challenges and have weathered them well as we have worked together and relied upon each other as a team.