Franklin Book of Positive Quotations
Franklin Book of Positive Quotations
It seems so appropriate to begin the very first chapter of my very first book with a chapter on gratitude. I am so grateful! My sixty plus years on this earth have taught me to be grateful. Anyone who is reading this book, and you are anywhere near my age, let me declare: we have so much for which to be thankful! We’ve outlived a lot of people! If we haven’t fine tuned an attitude of gratitude yet, then answer this one question for yourself: what’s the alternative? Complaining? Murmuring? Bitching? Or wishing we had done this, that, and/or the other?
Here’s a sobering reality: life is tenuous. It can change for the good or the bad in an instant. I’ve lost both employment positions and people in an instant. There is no security, and there are no guarantees. The longer we live, the more people we outlive. The more people we outlive, the more we realize that it could have been us. And since it has not been me, or you who are reading to date, our energies should be focused on living in the NOW. We’ve got nothing else! Again, I say, life is tenuous!
There are a few notable events in my life that have made this truth very clear to me. The first was the Watts Riots of 1965. For many, the Watts riots is an irrelevant event. The events seemed outdated, unless you were there. I was. And because I was there, the events that transpired then are as vivid now as they were back then .”Burn Baby Burn!” wasn’t just a motto at that time as it is now. It was a rallying cry to burn, loot, and destroy structures that were easy targets for the angry mobs.
Much of that destructive looting and burning was misdirected toward our own neighborhood resources. Even as a youngster it made no sense to me to burn down the only major supermarket that served our community at the time. And, because our papas were like rolling stones, wherever they laid their hats were their homes, the mothers of the neighborhood had to go further to shop for food.
Lesson learned out of the Watts riots? Well, for me, it’s redirecting my life’s energy to “burn baby burn!”…..for good works! I burn to build my community, which is anyone who lives next to me,
The second event occurred February 9, 1971. It was the day that the greatest earthquake to date hit Los Angeles. When the very ground beneath you violently shakes, and no one can stop it, including my pseudo security blanket at the time, my mother, the realization hits home on the deepest level: there are simply forces over which we have no control. This precious lesson has remained with me from that very day and I’m grateful for it.
The third, and last notable event, that has left a profound mark on my life occurred at a local food establishment in December/1980. The name of the food establishment is Bob’s Big Boy. The diner was located in West Los Angeles, California at the time. I was scheduled to work my first day in December 1980. I was also awaiting word on another job opportunity that day. For reasons that I’ll never pretend to completely understand, except it be the grace of God, I decided not to show up for my first scheduled shift. That very same night four people were killed in a robbery. Three of the people died that night, and the fourth died some years later as a result of his injuries. They were herded into a freezer and executed. I was supposed to be there…or was I?
I believe, to this very day, that it is the hand of God directing me in ways I, or we, will never fully understand. One other notable fact about that event is that I had graduated from high school with one of the assailants. You don’t think I’m grateful???I’ve learned that being grateful means different things to different people. For me, it doesn’t mean that I have everything I want, nor does it mean that life is trouble free.
It simply means that I have learned, and I am continually in the process of re-learning, to prioritize my life around what I truly value. Being grateful also means the opportunity to work hard and smart for what I, or what we, want. And here’s something for which I am truly grateful: I’ve learned to keep toxic and negative folks as far away as possible.
Let me press my point even more forcefully. Have we not learned what scripture and life teaches any open minded student? You and I came into this world with nothing, and it is evident that we can take nothing out of it. Have we not grasped this basic truth as our lives have unfolded? As we’ve gone from one phase of our brief existence to another have we not appreciated a simple revelation: that life is all about, and will always be all about, the quality of our relationships, and that there’s no substitute for finding what works for you? Amen!
So, dear reader, with those thoughts in mind, here are some select quotes that I’d like to share with you. The first body of quotes revolve around…
“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you?” — William A. Ward
Many successful men and women claim they are “self-made.” But the fact is that no one reaches the pinnacle without help. Once you have set your definite major goal for success-and taken your first steps to achieve it-you find yourself receiving help from many unexpected quarters. You must be prepared to give thanks…” – Napoleon Hill
“Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty.” –Doris Day
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” — William Arthur Ward
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning, and great is His faithfulness! – Psalm
“There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.” — Ralph H. Blum
“Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic.” — John Henry Jowett (Vaccine– there’s a timely quote ya’ll 🙂
“The blessing of today is that it reflects the grace and faithfulness of God. It offers us the opportunity to be gracious in the midst of human weakness” -Franklin
“Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” —Zig Ziglar
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” —Oprah Winfrey
“ ‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, and understanding.” —Alice Walker
“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” —Henri Frederic Amiel
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” —William Arthur Ward
“The way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.” —Charles Schwab
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” —Albert Einstein
“Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” —Charles Dickens
“None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude. Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.” —Fred De Witt Van Amburgh
Summary of chapter on GRATITUDE: folks, to repeat the truth that life is tenuous is essential. The tenuousness of life is the primary reason I want to summarize this chapter on gratitude on a more personal note. I’ve shared a bit about events that have occurred in my lifetime in the opening chapter. However, I want to share a bit more, but, again, on a more personal note.
Some of the years of which I’ve been “blessed” to live have been visited by tragedy. I’ll be very frank about the details of one of my first most tragic experiences. It was as a teenager. I was “kickin’ it” at the house of a friend and a few of our neighborhood friends. Our time back then was always spent playing with my loaded shotgun, illegally obtaining alcohol, and smoking as much weed as broke teenagers can afford.
On one particular summer night we were doing just that when there was a knock at the door. Before opening the door I, along with the others, was repeatedly asking the host of the house to stop playfully aiming at us, what he thought was an unloaded gun. It wasn’t. In those seemingly harmless moments I decided to be the one to answer the door because I had already decided to leave for a bit to go home, which was a short walk from there, to eat a meal.
I opened the door to find our buddy Fred. I greeted Fred with a handshake that included handing him the joint I had in my hand. I watched Fred as he sat in the very chair I had just abandoned. I made my way home. It was approximately an hour later that I heard the voice of a friend calling my name outside the window of our apartment. I looked out the window to ask what he wanted. His words still resound in my ears: “ He (our host at the house) shot Fred; he was playing with that gun”.
He continued: “ he thought that there wasn’t any bullets in that gun he was playing with; he was about to put it up but he pointed it at Fred and clicked it and bam!” I then made my way around the corner as quickly as I could. The paramedics had arrived by that time. We watched from nearby as they were working to save Fred’s life. They couldn’t. We watched as the paramedics grabbed a sheet from the ambulance. We thought they were simply placing it on Fred to keep him warm. That was not the case as we watched them pull the sheet over Fred’s lifeless body. We watched him die. R.I.P. Frederick Wayne Wright- I ain’t forgot you man!
I’m still grateful! Gratitude is still a very potent antidote for some of life’s ills! Fred’s death was followed a few years later by my father’s death by alcoholism at the relatively young age of forty three. It was the first tragedy that overwhelmed me with grief. It shook me to the core. My father was an absentee father, but being my one and only father is all that mattered to me when I saw him on those rare occasions. My younger brother, Steven, whom my father had with a caucasian woman who became my second mother, was killed at the super tender age of seventeen.
His death was preceded by a close cousin Kenny, the very cousin who gave me that aforementioned shotgun, who had moved out to California from Louisiana for a better life. The memories still burn deeply because it was my brother, Steven, who called to tell me that our cousin Kenny was killed, only for Steven to be killed in the same violent manner two years later. Rest In Power, In Peace, In Paradise fam!
I’ve got more stories of that nature but what’s most important is the lesson: make prudent use of our time on this earth. Find what works for you! It’s a struggle to live our truths, but it’s a battle worth fighting. An attitude of gratitude can be a source of energy to fight for what life means to you. Tragedy has taught me this! I’ve had to learn to define exactly what being grateful means, what being blessed means, what any of it means in the midst of such tragedies. It means different things to different people.
Being blessed, and by extension being grateful, means accepting, on my deepest personal level, the reality that life includes both good and evil. It includes both light and darkness. I’ve learned that I, myself, am the dual composition of both good and evil. I have the personal ability, and great capacity, as we all do, for great good….and yes, great evil!
I’ve had to remind myself to be grateful. Sometimes it has not been easy.
And that’s the lesson! Let’s remind each other to be grateful! Iron does sharpen iron! Blessings to the ONE, and to all! Thanks so much for reading! God bless!!!!!!