A Forgotten Note On Gratitude

by David Garten

Much has been written in recent years about the link between gratitude and its effects on physical and mental health.  Paul and I were discussing this the other day and I remembered that I had written a piece after a business trip to New York City about seven or eight years ago which I had written for no reason other than being grateful.  So I trudged through the basement to look for my old computer to locate the piece and am posting it here for the first time:

Lessons From a Delayed Train

My train was delayed six hours due to a winter storm yesterday departing from NYC to Boston.  Most of that time I spent in Penn Station.  The initial few hours of frustration transitioned to something very surprising- as I stood there I developed an incredible sense of gratitude.   How lucky was I that I was going home to an incredibly loving partner- someone who loves me unconditionally, understands me like no one else, and supports me in so many ways.   I was on my way to our home, a beautiful home at that, in a neighborhood and city that I adore.  I was waiting there with Neil, my business partner and one of my closest friends. I had spent the previous evening with great new friends, Julie and Mary, who introduced us to their wonderful friends and family and their daughter Sarah. 

I was grateful that if the train had, in fact been cancelled, I could have made a call and had the option to stay with my sister-in-law and her family on the upper west side, with one of my dearest friends in Chelsea, or with one of many other friends in the area.

I was thankful that I was standing there on my own two feet, literally.   I was able to hold and carry my bags.  As I looked around I realized how lucky I was to be healthy both mentally and physically.  My awareness was prompted specifically by a conversation with a wonderful woman at the previous night’s party who works with elderly, mentally ill, homeless individuals.

I was grateful that although I was standing in Penn Station, filled with hundreds of people I didn’t know, that I have a loving and supporting family and a lifetime of friends that have and continue to enrich my life.

We all know life can be stressful and we are all usually running around trying to keep up.  Paul and I have had our home in disarray for three months due to renovations.  Neil and I have spent the better part of six years and put every penny we have into a company that is on the verge of taking off in a big way.  But it took a train to remind me that life IS the journey and it’s running on time.

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