There are days when gratitude is illusive, when the body is ailing and the psyche turns inward for solace. Gratitude is not a given. It needs to be courted and embraced.
Recently, I struggled with a cough from a cold that wouldn’t let up. I pride myself with a fair knowledge of alternative products and have a decent track record in managing seasonal onslaughts with homeopathic and herbal products. After days of feeling frustrated and stuck, I decided it was time to head to my local Whole Foods to check out the possibility of something new.
I hoped for and found Sue bent over in the aisle, sorting the inventory. In the past, she had suggested the perfect salve for a skin outbreak, the perfect shade of makeup.
“Sue, I need something for my cough and congestion. I can’t shake it,” I said.
She began moving up the aisle, pointing out and describing. “How about one of these coughs syrups? An expectorant?” Her voice was raspy, her eyes, fatigued.
“ I’m set on cough syrup. You sound like you have what I have.”
“I do. It’s going around.”
She moved fast; I moved with her and it seemed like we had run the gamut when I noticed a fresh blue box, a homeopathic “cold care” product that could be sipped, like tea.
I liked the idea of tea. The image was soothing.
Sue grinned at my choice. “Everyone here who’s been sick is using this, plus my whole family. Be sure to mix the packet well in 6 ounces of hot water.”
That afternoon, I sipped two cups of the “tea.” Within minutes, I felt more energy and coughed less. On three cups a day, the healing has continued.
Am I grateful? Certainly, for feeling better but more, for Sue’s kindness. In spite of her own state, she took the time to review at least a half dozen products until we came upon what seemed right.
In a few days, my head cleared and I found myself reflecting upon and writing about our encounter. When I completed a draft, I wanted to thank her in person and ask permission to use her name.
Again, I headed out, hoping she’d be at work and she was. I felt awkward, a little shy and nervous. What if she wasn’t comfortable with my request?
“Sue, I want to thank you for suggesting the Umcka. I’m much better. How are you?”
“Oh, so much better,” she said, grinning, as she told me about a special outing the day before with her daughter.
“I so appreciate how you extended yourself given how you felt. I write a weekly gratitude blog and have written a story about how you helped me. Would it be all right to use your name?”
As she listened, Sue’s right hand went to her heart. Patting her chest, she said, “Of course, and you are so kind to tell me….Especially today, it means so much to know what I do is worthwhile. I am filled to the brim.”