It is often said that “Home is where the heart is” but where exactly is our heart? Earlier this week I asked you the reader how you wanted to be known. What do your daily activities say about you? How do they illustrate your beliefs? We have discussed having a bountiful life and manifesting our faith in how we live. Two year ago we peeked into the lives of many humanitarians through the use of verbs, those action words found in each and every sentence. We talked about the comic genius of Tom Shadyac, the youngest writer to have ever worked for Bob Hope. Then we discussed the comic genius himself, Mr. Bob Hope.
Long before Tom Shadyac was even born, Bob Hope had made a name for himself in Hollywood as an actor, singer, dancer, vaudeville performer, producer, comedian, and yes, even an athlete. Hope appeared in over seventy films and countless television programs during his eighty-plus year career. He 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.
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.
Many claim they are too busy and others just assume that the gratitude we feel in our hearts somehow gets known by others. The truth is that most of us fail to show gratitude or express it. There are no excuses. I am not going to sugar-coat this. We need to live an attitude of gratitude every minute and especially show it to our friends. There is even an app to help us out, an app called the Art of Giving.
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. We all live a bountiful life of some sort. We also all are the recipient of someone else’s kindness. Take a minute to show gratitude to someone. Let them know…Thank you.