Friday, February 27, 2009
Gracious : characterized by charm, good taste, generosity of spirit, and the tasteful leisure of wealth and good breeding
There's an early episode of The Andy Griffith Show, the one where Aunt Bea is out of town for an extended stay (can't remember why). Malcolm the Englishmen comes to help out and introduces the family to his more rigid, formal and refined lifestyle. Opie doesn't know what to make of all this, but for a while goes along. He even encourages his Pa Andy to dress up for supper as it's all a part of 'gracious living'. It's a hoot.
Graciousness. What does this look like, exactly?
When I think of gracious living I think of, er, I mean I don't think of Martha Stewart. Bleh. I don't think overachieving hyperactivity is gracious. Her lifestyle would exhaust me. I think it's more of an attitude, sort of Blanche DuBois-ish, minus her delusions and scars and sluttiness. Okay, maybe not her either.
I don't know what it is exactly except you know when you are in the presence of a truly gracious person. They make you feel valued, and somehow through their gentle manners, at peace.
From a place somewhere deep in my computer, and I'm sorry I don't remember the source, comes this:
10 Characteristics of a Gracious Person
1. A gracious person is slow to take credit and quick to lavish praise.
2. A gracious person never seeks to embarrass another. Humiliating another is not in this person's vocabulary. (They don't say something to humiliate another and then try to escape responsibility by saying, "I was only joking.")
3. A gracious person is always thanking others. Do you go through an entire day without thanking another?
4. A gracious person doesn't monopolize the conversation. Someone else has something to offer.
5. A gracious person doesn't play "one up-manship". (That's nothing you should have seen what I did.
6. A gracious person pays attention to people. Sometimes people come away from such conversations saying, "He made me feel like I was the most important person at that moment."
7. A gracious person desires to say what is appropriate. He doesn't just say what is on his mind or whatever he might be thinking. (There is no redeeming value in emptying one's mind of whatever fleeting thought has happened to land at the moment).
8. A gracious person looks out for the comfort of others. Would you like a glass of water? Can I get you a newspaper while I am out? What can I do for you?
9. A gracious person understands that he is not indispensable. You've seen this person, he desires constant attention. He has a way of constantly focusing most any conversation back on himself. There is a humility in realizing that you are dispensable.
10. A gracious person constantly points out the good that he sees. Maybe you are visiting a friend who lives in another place. Instead of pointing out the inadequacies of your friend's community, you are constantly finding things that are good. "This restaurant has outstanding peach pie! That was delicious." "I just love the way you have planted your garden. It is beautiful!" Gracious people look for the good.