In its purest form, gratitude is the mirror humanity holds up to itself. It reveals us for who we are in the searing light of reality, and it accepts us anyway. It is not a denial of imperfection nor a glossing over of deep, divisive problems. It is an acceptance of our human experience...our victories and our failures. Gratitude finds the potential for strength within the rubble of our weakest moments. It believes that human greatness is ultimately a mesmerizing mosaic of patterned imperfection and beautiful, disparate parts. Gratitude embraces the real "us" in expectation of a better "we."
True gratitude comes from the grittiness of living a real life with real people and real challenges, and deliberately choosing hope and thankfulness anyway.
Essentially, gratitude and the humanities are two sides of the same mirror. The humanities are the study of what it means to be human, and gratitude is thankfulness for actually being human. They both recognize human incongruencies, ironies, injustices, beauty, triumphs, and defeats...and they challenge us to embrace it all with maturity and honesty.
In their totality, the humanities are evidence of a vibrant, complex existence. They invite us to dive into the deep waters of human ideas and expression to find ourselves, and each other, in the exploration. Likewise, gratitude demonstrates our commitment to humanity in general and to each other in very personal, real ways. Gratitude and the humanities both honor our fundamental human ties.
In this season of celebration, let's be thankful for everything we have yet to learn from each other, let's recognize our common bonds, and let's improve our communities together through the humanities and a life of deep and very real gratitude.
Executive Director, Utah Humanities
On July 19th, 2013, the Cassini spacecraft turned around to take a picture of its home planet. NASA had asked people to send in photos of them waving at Cassini as it took their picture from approximately 808 Million miles away. Over 1,400 photos were submitted, and have been combined into a beautiful collage of Earth.
View the original image here
. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.