Expressing gratitude is a daily routine for Hyacinth McLeod, one of our Christian Science nurses. In fact, many people know her by the joyful and unique response she always gives to the standard greeting, “How are you?”
“I am Grateful,” she unfailingly replies. And then, she expresses her gratitude with a simple, “Thank you!”
The springboard for Hyacinth’s gratitude can be found in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. The author, Mary Baker Eddy asks, “Are we really grateful for the good already received?” If the answer is yes, she then tells us that “we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more.” But her instructions don’t stop there. We learn what gratitude actually is! Mrs. Eddy writes, “Gratitude is much more than a verbal expression of thanks. Action expresses more gratitude than speech” (3:22-26).
For Hyacinth, this sense of gratitude resonated from a very early age. She loved to give, and there was nothing better than giving thanks to God for all the good, the protection, friendship and divine Love meeting her every need!
“I am at my best when I am sharing and giving. Expressing any amount of gratitude – big or small – has a ripple effect and can impact our surroundings, leaving no room for error [evil] in our lives,” Hyacinth shared with us.
She feels that even a simple gesture, such as giving comfort, sharing a smile, or even having the desire to give, can go a long way. Her favorite Bible verses express this sentiment:
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thessalonians 5:18).
…freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8).
Since we have freely received these blessings from God, as the Bible tells us, Hyacinth believes that we should continuously jump on the opportunity to give! That’s one reason she loves Thanksgiving.
“I am so grateful for the individuals who proclaimed Thanksgiving as a holiday,” Hyacinth says. “I love having a specific day during the year for everyone to come together, to be surrounded by family and loved ones, and to express gratitude for life and blessings that have been bestowed upon us.”
While Hyacinth’s journey to such abundant gratitude has its foundation in the Bible and the teachings of Christian Science, she’s also had many other sources of inspiration. One was Oprah Winfrey (whom Hyacinth has met).
“Oprah inspired me to write in a gratitude journal every day, which I have been doing since September 19, 1999. Writing in a journal like this gives me an opportunity to reflect on what I am grateful for. It also gives me a moment within each day to give thanks and be grateful for all that is in my life.”
Another individual who inspired Hyacinth was Maya Angelou. While reading the Christian Science Monitor many years ago, Hyacinth learned that Maya Angelou also kept a kind of gratitude journal. She carried a yellow notepad with her and wrote her blessings on that notepad. In the article, Maya Angelou speaks to how doing so transformed her life (“Gratitude Heals” 12/13/2002). Hyacinth now also keeps a yellow notepad with her at all times. Every time she looks at that notepad filled with blessings, she is reminded of all the good present in her life.
So, when Hyacinth tells you “I am Grateful,” she absolutely means it! And, she loves that the responses she gets from people to her answer always encourage a different way of thinking for others and often start a conversation about how we all can be deeply blessed by an “attitude of gratitude!”