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Gratitude from the Heart

by Rowena Vrabel

Long ago, when I was in grade school, we read a poem by Shakespeare from one of his plays that has stayed with me for 60 years. Although I do not recall which play, I do remember the lines of the poem themselves. They spoke and still speak to me in a very personal way about the sting of ingratitude:

Blow, blow, thou winter wind,

Thou art not so unkind

As man’s ingratitude;

Thy tooth is not so keen,

Because thou art not seen,

Although thy breath be rude. *


If this be true of ingratitude, and I believe it is, then surely its converse must also be true. Gratitude from the heart is joy itself, both to the giver and the receiver. For it is a gift of grace freely given that acknowledges another soul's gift of love, support, care, and understanding that, too, is freely given. It tells us with certainty and conviction, that cannot be conveyed in any other manner, that we, as individuals, do not live alone as a universe of one, but are part of the whole, part of an intricate web of relationships that gives meaning and purpose to our existence. To be grateful, to thank another, is a tangible act of acknowledgement of the interconnectedness of all human beings. Although I know not whether the Bard would agree, I will take the liberty to say:


The soft wind of gratitude

Blows warmly in the spring air,

And invites us to tarry

Awhile longer together.

It is the sweet breath of kindness,

That touches our souls,

And brings joy to life.


*Editor's note. These words are sung by Amiens in Act II, Scene 7 of Shakespeare’s play As You Like It.


  • G-A Gift of Grace

  • R-Respect and Love

  • A-Acceptance and Kindness

  • T-Tolerance

  • I-Inspiration

  • T-Thoughtfulness

  • U-Understanding

  • D-Daring

  • E-Empathy