For a lot of change making organizations, it can seem like loss and pain are the driving force behind their work. So many nonprofits and NGO’s start because their founder lost someone they love to cancer, to heart disease, to suicide, to war…the list goes on. My own organization, Big Love Little Hearts, is in honor of my sister, who passed away at just 37 days old from an undiagnosed heart defect.
But viewing loss as the impetus of change misses the mark. What really fuels changemakers is gratitude and grace. Being so thankful for the time you had with someone that you’re driven to give the gift of time spent with loved ones to others. Being so thankful for the advantages you’ve had that you want as many people as possible to also have them. Being grateful for your education, the food on your plate, your mentors, the support of others during a hard time….these are the things that truly make the world grow.
Hospitals grow because the people who received excellent care there donate so that others may receive the same. Scholarships are funded by people who are grateful for what education has made possible in their lives. Organizations like Imerman Angels are built by people who are thankful that they had the support they needed while fighting cancer. Organizations like mine are funded by parents who know how lucky they are that their children were born in a country where lifesaving care is abundant.
I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a lot of changemakers in my years as one, and the common thread among all of them is not a bleeding heart…it’s a grateful heart.
We are all meditating on the things we’re grateful for during Thanksgiving. This Thanksgiving what I am most thankful for is simply the act of gratitude, because that’s what is improving and often saving the lives of millions of people all around the world.
If your heart is thankful this week, please consider sharing your love with a grateful photo or gift over at Epic Thanks (an organization whose entire philosophy is that love and gratitude are all that’s needed to change the world).