It’s Gratituesday! I’m sure you know a few “how many people does it take to change a lightbulb” jokes. I actually found a website that has them listed alphabetically by profession. My favorite is this one:
How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb?
Only one, but it has to really want to change.
What do lightbulb jokes have to do with Gratitude? You’d be surprised at the answer. If you were to seriously ask how many people are involved in the actual process of changing a lightbulb, you’d be surprised. Really. Stay with me here.
I remember sitting in the theater after the movie “Apollo 13” as the credits scrolled by. Astounded by how many people it took to put this movie together, I then naturally wondered how many people it took to put even one actual Apollo mission up into space.
From there, for days, even weeks afterwards, I wondered about all the background people we seldom see, pay attention to, or know about that make different things work.
At a restaurant I see a greeter, a server and maybe a food runner, occasionally a manager makes the rounds. Yet, there are cooks, prep cooks, dishwashers, bussers, cleaning crews after hours, delivery truck drivers, garbage truck drivers, food processors and handlers at a factory, sellers, buyers, equipment manufacturers, harvesters, growers, farmers, ranchers, dairymen, water purification workers, just to name a few obvious ones. I haven’t even touched on who made the aprons, napkins, plates, lights, the building or the tables and chairs.
And that’s just a restaurant. What about a college or university or an elementary school?
My simple trip to the grocery store or to the corner drug store involves thousands and thousands of people working to create, produce, package, order, process, sell, ship, inventory, stock, price, and then finally run the store. All that, just so I can pop in, choose a four pack of lightbulbs and take them home to replace the burned out ones. I’m sure I missed a few steps in there.
How many people does it take to change a lightbulb? We may never know.
My youngest sister posted this as her Gratituesday Facebook status last week. (She’s the one who got me started doing Gratituesdays a few years ago. She’s a smart one! Thanks Becky! )
“Naikan therapy reminds people to be thankful for everything. If you are sitting in a chair, you need to realize that someone made that chair, and someone sold it and someone delivered it – and you are the beneficiary of all that. Just because they didn’t do it especially for you doesn’t mean you aren’t blessed to be using it and enjoying it. Life becomes a series of small miracles, and you may start to notice everything that goes right in a typical life and not the few things that go wrong. ~― Will Schwalbe, The End of Your Life Book Club”
I love this expansive way of thinking about the world. I feel more connected, more aware, and more thankful. When I eat my breakfast, a part of my brain thinks briefly of the many people that made my simple meal of yogurt and granola possible. Pretty amazing, if you ask me.
Just a thought here and there about all that goes into making everything in my world exist, work, run smoothly, and my life easier leaves me feeling more blessed than ever today!
I’ve decided to get back to my daily practice of a gratitude journal. I’ve run across some slick smartphone gratitude apps. Debating if I want to try one, or if I’m going old school and pulling out a blank book to write in every evening before lights out. Either way, I know, from experiences going back over twenty years, it can and will make a difference in my outlook, my focus and my life. I’ve written a little about it previously in this post if you’re curious.
I’d be interested to know if any of you have tried gratitude journaling, on your phone or in a traditional notebook. Has it made a difference? Or is it just another thing on your to-do list that weighs you down?
Oh, and if you have a favorite lightbulb joke, I’d love it if you shared in the comments. Thanks!