Grace in Motion
It is often said that “Home is where the heart is” but where exactly is our heart? What do your daily activities say about you? How do they illustrate your beliefs? During this series about manifesting faith in how we live, in the grace we show to others, we will remember, I hope, that grace is an action verb.
Bob Hope had made a name for himself in Hollywood as an actor, singer, dancer, vaudeville performer, producer, comedian, and yes, even an athlete. He appeared in over seventy films and countless television programs during his eighty-plus year career and also made over fifty USO tours to entertain United States military personnel overseas.
Bob Hope’s passion for living was illustrated in his unique ways of saying “Thank you”. His popular and annual USO tours were his way of showing gratitude to military personnel who fought for freedom and peace worldwide. An avid golfer, Hope appeared in over one hundred and fifty charity golf tournaments each year. He and his wife Delores adopted four children and lived in the same house from 1937 until his death in 2003 at the age of 100 years.
Bob Hope is proof that one needs not be born into wealth in order to create it or spread it in gratitude to multiple agencies and people worldwide. Born in London to a stonemason and opera singer who later worked at a dry cleaners business, Lesley Hope came to the United States with his six siblings and parents, arriving through the famed Ellis Island in 1908. He worked as a butcher before signing up to take dance lessons with a girlfriend. Hope then decided on a career in show business and began as a dancer on vaudeville.
Bob Hope actually flunked a screen test in the 1930’s but used the experience to better his skills. His career began on radio and he became known for his comedic wit and timing. While known for his support of the USO or United Service Organization, Bob Hope lent his name and efforts to various other charitable organizations. It was because of his gratitude and support for the military that Congress awarded him an honorary veteran in the late 1960’s.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once advised “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” With all of his talents and skills, perhaps the greatest one Bob Hope possessed was the ability to show gratitude. It is not a coincidence that gratitude comes from the same root word as grace.
Gratitude is simply saying “Thank you” to someone and yet, it is often overlooked. How many times have we failed to tell a friend thank you or neglected to follow up with said friend when they are absent? Once upon a time writing thank you notes was a common trend but somehow, we have detached ourselves from saying thank you.
In her book “Eat, Pray, Love”, Elizabeth Gilbert writes: “In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”
At the end of each performance, for over fifty years, Bob Hope expressed his own personal style and gratitude by his famous one-liner….”Thanks for the memories.” There will always be another job to do, another hill to climb, another dish to wash, or book to read. This moment, this minute, though, will never come again. Take a minute to show gratitude to someone. Showing gratitude is just one form of grace in motion.