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Gratitude is the Attitude

February 24, 2011

tibi gratias ago

I have some thankfulness to share, and I will do so in some detail!

Those who know me know my love for Latin and Ancient Greek.  There’s vitality in them, even though they’re as dead as Caesar and, uhm, oh let’s say Demosthenes.  Gratias agere is how you express the giving of thanks in Latin.

For what it’s worth, the Romans didn’t have a specific verb for thanking (“I thank you”), much less did they truncate things to a one-word “thanks”.  Rather, you had to go all-out and say tibi gratias ago: in other words, what amounts to “I give you thanks”.  It’s not enough to be thankful: you need to extend thankfulness to someone (tibi), and the verb you use–agere–deep down means to act, to perform, to set things in motion.

All right!  Does that mean that the Romans felt gratitude more strongly than us?  Probably not–but then, who knows?  That was a long time ago, and their society was remarkably alien.  What I can say is that I am feeling a gratitude that needs to be expressed here in a very explicit way!  So bear with me as I “offer my gratitude to you”, as Cicero and his butler would have it!  Protocol forbids me from naming you all, but know that you are covered!


1) My amazing son.  Words fail me.  There is no way I can describe how I feel for him, there are no terms to express the joy I feel in his presence.

2) I am now getting busier than ever before, involved as I am with no less than 4 projects and committees with the City and the County (on top of which there’s this blog and the spoken word poetry material I’m preparing).  Thanks are in order to those who have made this happen. It’s exhausting, but without you I would be sorely lacking a sense of purpose.

The activists among you are inspiring, the friends among you supportive.  Most of you wear both hats and it’s very fetching!  We’re all in this together.  In particular, j’ai nommé Zoe Kessler, Sandy Naiman, Francesca of the United Way Grey Bruce, Teresa of the Union Place drop-in centre, Scars Are Stories, Kim at the CSDP, Victoria Serda, and many, many more.

3) Of course, I also had to run out of money smack in the midst of it.  Completely.  Only $7 or so in my account.  Before mid-month.  So mad props to those who took pity on the poor boy and might have possibly comped him a coffee or two (I’m not sayin’ who, not sayin’ where!  The muffaletta that “fell off the back of a truck” was mighty fine, too…).  Big ups to my man Jonny for getting me out of the house and into the movies last night.

4) But wait!  There’s more!  In the midst of all that business and impecunity, my computer gets a case of the mange.   Uh-oh!  If i don’t get my computer looked at, I’m hip deep in stercum (0r, as the Greeks called it, kopros).  I’m brought to a halt in every aspect of my professional life, and to a great extent in my personal life too.  What to do?  What to do?

Fortunately–and this is what I am thankful for!–I can lend my pathetic laptop to a friend who has a friend who is good with laptops.  It turns out my Compaq is easily fixable (it’s just the fan), but nonetheless, it’s unreliable and clearly insufficient as the nucleus of a home office.  I need a workhorse, not a show pony, and was despairing over how to go about acquiring a Percheron, when….

5) ….two very remarkable things happened!  I found myself in a position to obtain a Percheron, and found a Percheron to obtain.  The hooves and teeth check out, and though he’s a bit skinny it’s nothing a nosebag of external hard drives can’t fix.  Thanks to two very special people in my life for bringing this to pass.  I love you both.

6) All of a sudden, I found myself in possession of $65!  My tax rebate cheque had come in!  Yay!  Groceries!  And attendance at our winter music festival, Lupercalia!  And here I thank Karen at the River Café and Caroline of SOUNDS for offering to front me admission.  I didn’t need it, but that’s what friends do!

7) Which brings me to generosity in general and the wonder of loving friends with open minds, hearts and spirits.  This month I reconnected to old friends I haven’t seen in years; saw a good friend go from nearly suicidal to hopeful again; deepened many current friendships; and made new friends–most recently Sandy Naiman, who has been a source of wisdom and get-off-yer-heinie motivation.

8 ) I think too of when I first arrived in this town and knew nobody.  Zoe was instrumental in paving the way, introducing me to so many wonderful people I now count as my nearest and dearest.  She’s also bailed me out of two tight spots!  There’s Jonny, whose energies and complexities make him one of the most authentic people I know.  Mel, whose quiet exterior conceals profound intuition and spirituality.  Kristan, who has modified my approach to reading and writing, and who was a sight for sore eyes at 1 am at the Southampton Tim Horton’s.

9) There’s also Cat.  My oldest and dearest friend, and someone who is going through immense changes (i.e., pregnancy!).  I thank my stars the universe brought us together.

10) Scars Are Stories.  I’m thankful to have gotten to know her, and lately to have learned through her about my own misconceptions.  Powerful, fierce, compassionate, a necessary friend, who will always be with me on this brambly cowpath we call recovery.  The phoenix burns but is never consumed.

11) I am thankful for living my life now with a sense of purpose and fulfillment that I never expected.  Indeed, time to shine!

12) Inspired by the logo for DeMentos, my spoken word alter ego, the people at the local branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association asked me to design a brochure for their dental program, and to design the logo for the Union Place drop in centre.

13) And, and… well, I couldn’t resist ending on 13 with my cat Lionel Leopold Leonard Leonidas Leopardi Hampton, Esq., who can not has cheezburger but who can has the tofu and the hot chilis and the barley soup.  Odd little beast.


ita, quare habes gratiam?

So–what are you thankful for?
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