A few nights ago I was at my local chapter of Women Who Wine. For those of you unfamiliar with the group, it’s essentially a gathering of philanthropically-minded women who get together once a month to raise awareness of a charity and, naturally, drink wine.
At the end of the evening, after we’ve heard from the charity representative, we go around one by one, introduce ourselves, and answer that night’s question. The prompt that night was, “How do you stay grounded and stop you first world problems from bringing you down?”
In other words, the question was, “How do you stay grateful and keep everything in perspective?” My kind of question.
The responses floored me. Here was a group of doctors, lawyers, professors, and business executives, and each and every one of them said they kept their own problems in perspective by serving others. The doctors fought for their cancer patients. The lawyers did pro bono cases to help a victim of domestic abuse gain custody of her children. The professors mentored promising, but first-generation college students. Even the business executives talked about their roles serving food in the soup kitchen.
These women were not expressing their gratitude for the comforts they had that others did not have. They were expressing their gratitude that they were simply able to offer their skills and talents to help others. Each and every one of them spoke about how lucky they were, not because they had a lot of things, but because they could share those things.
The distinction holds an amazing secret about what makes us grateful. I’m still trying to put my finger on it, but for now, let me just say I am grateful to be part of such an inspiring community.