Being Grateful for Unmerited Gifts

Thanksgiving is not about “what” but “who.”

I hope I carry a spirit of gratitude with me throughout the year, but as an American, this feeling comes into focus as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday.  I feel like the luckiest person on the planet, because I am constantly surprised by the number of people that I have affection for – specifically, people I’m privileged to work alongside of. I once thought this only happened to young people for whom the world was still new, exciting and ripe for conquest. I guess, for me, the world IS still new and exciting, and so are the human beings who people it. What a blessing.

Some background: When I was in my twenties and thirties, I was lucky enough to rub elbows with the smart people who were exploring the nascent technology known as the World Wide Web (LANS and WANS). I worked with the founders of Java; I helped those who were first to modernize publishing and ignite the eventual digital revolution. These people were changing the world forever, and I fell in love with their intellect, their integrity and their unmitigated energy. Perhaps it was just a young man’s perspective — from what felt like the pinnacle of my career — but I assumed I would never again work with such inspirational people.

How nice to be proven wrong, time and again. Across multiple career changes and chance encounters, I find myself surrounded today by an amazing number of bright, generous, witty and inspirational people. And I have come to look forward to the next meaningful encounter. Mind you, I am not egotistical enough to think this is something I earned, or that I am a human magnet for the best sort of people. So, I can’t help but wonder if it is just my own unmerited luck, or if other people have succumbed to the habit of walking past unopened gifts — turning away from unexplored relationships that might have been life-changing. The thing is, some of my favorite people don’t agree with me on “important” issues like politics, religion and lifestyle. None of that matters, because we connect on a higher (and deeper) level.

Whether you celebrate an American Thanksgiving or not, I wish you a life warmed and enriched by a diverse array of amazing people who share your workplace and heart space. This November 23 will find me thinking, with appreciation, about all who have blessed my life.

Thank you.

~ bph

One thought on “Being Grateful for Unmerited Gifts

  1. Bob, what a wonderful and encouraging article! You look great! It’s been so long since I’ve seen you! I hear you’re doing great and your girls are growing up. Time! Where does it go? I can’t believe I’m 67. 67!!! Man I’m old but I’m doing my best to stay young! I’d love to see you the next time you come to Indy! Be good and be great!


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