I don’t know if you’ve noticed this or not, but something is slowly dying all around us. It’s been a prolonged passing. Maybe that’s why hardly anyone speaks of it; things that fade away become accepted, like old jeans or a love affair that no longer hits the spot.
After all, we will send a note of appreciation to those who do business with us — to curry their favor, and we’ll occasionally bring someone we care about some small token of our esteem for them, but… what has happened to being appreciative of life, of having some daily appreciation for the Divine that makes our individual existence possible?
Where there is true appreciation, there is gratitude; and giving thanks is not something one does “dutifully,” as is much the case in our culture today. When we really appreciate something, there is genuine pleasure in acknowledging this to whatever is being appreciated. It’s our pleasure to please what pleases us by its recognition. And whatever we appreciate feels this gift; everything thrives on love, whatever its form.
This slow death of appreciation must be tied to the degree to which our false sense of importance has been elevated by increasingly false social and religious values. Wanting to be seen as someone “special” means that we must see everyone around us as being in a role needed to fill that desire. This means, acknowledged or not, that we see everything and everyone as being in a “supporting role” to this task, while we are the principle actor (on stage).
Doesn’t this explain why we are so quick to judge others for failing to appreciate us, while on the other hand we are so slow in our expression of gratitude toward them? We are busier and busier chasing down our moment in the sun, and have forgotten what it means to look up and feel thanks for the light that makes our life possible.
Real appreciation for God, for this life given to us through the action of grace, requires realizing our actual place in the greater scheme of things. No one in a hurry to get something done does anything except throw dirt over his or her opportunity to appreciate the moment (of life in the light) they have been given.
To really appreciate anything requires being conscious of it; without this awareness of one’s relationship with whatever the moment presents — and all that’s being given freely through it — one lives only from the sense of being busy. It is impossible to rush, to want to feel “important,” and to appreciate life at the same time.