Corps Members and Employees Find a Special Connection to Gratitude in their Work
“I am a grateful courier of a stranger’s kindness.” This line of The Salvation Army’s “Doing the Most Good” Manifesto resonates with Corps members and employees of The Salvation Army every day. However, during National Gratitude Month and World Kindness Week, it has special meaning.
For Lt. Ashley Reckline, Associate Corps Officer at The Salvation Army Louisville South Corps, it is a message she takes to heart with every duty of her job.
“It all comes back to that humbleness and doing the most good behind the scenes, the things done daily that are so often not seen but knowing that I have done them and that it is helping others,” Reckline said.
Those who work for and serve in The Salvation Army know firsthand that not only is gratitude the quality of being thankful and a readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness, it is an act with the amazing ability to shift us from focusing on the negative to appreciating what is positive in our lives.
“I feel inadequate so often but then God reminds me of how big He is, which gives me strength. God has given me so many talents but the greatest is just to be able to serve and to know when someone is down and to know when to give them encouragement and love. No matter what, the love is there,” Reckline said.
The intention of November being National Gratitude Month is to encourage practicing daily gratitude. Not only does it give us a deeper connection to ourselves and those around us, it brings us a deeper connection to our Creator.
“At Thanksgiving and this time of year, a lot of people get down as they remember lost loved ones or think of difficult financial times. I am thankful that although I am extremely introverted that with God’s help, I can be extroverted with God’s love,” Reckline said as she recalled how her work with The Salvation Army helps her connect to both God and the people she serves.
For Lt. Reckline, practicing gratitude plays a significant role in her work and her personal life.
“God has taught me so much about patience and peace. We carry a lot with my son’s health and my health. I am so grateful for God’s blessings and peace,” Reckline said.
For Brian Campbell, a social worker in Social Services at The Salvation Army of Clarksville, Tennessee, gratitude is more than simply saying “thank you”, although he appreciates that aspect of it.
“I receive cards and letters about how we have helped lives. Our Salvation Army mission is to do the most good. We do get rewarded. We appreciate that. For me, it’s doing what we can with the gifts we are given,” Campbell said.
Gratitude encourages us not only to appreciate gifts but to repay them or pay them forward.
“To me it relates to having perfect discipline to make good, right, sound decisions about the population we serve, to always put the needs of The Salvation Army and the client first. I take their needs above my own,” Campbell said.
World Kindness Day is celebrated around the globe on November 13th. Created in 1998, this holiday encourages people to spread happiness, joy and peace through kindness.
When asked about the day, Campbell’s thoughts naturally turned to the coming holiday season.
“We are full steam ahead. We are primed and ready for what is ahead in the Christmas season,” Campbell said, thinking of the individuals and families that come to The Salvation Army, usually in a transition process, needing a helping hand to get their lives back on track.
Cultivating gratitude doesn’t cost any money or take much time, but research shows everything in our lives has the ability to improve when we are grateful – our mood, our health, our happiness. Not only does practicing gratitude decrease stress, it alleviates depression, lowers blood pressure, and improves our relationships.
As Lt. Ashley Reckline and Brian Campbell demonstrate daily, we all have the ability to cultivate an “attitude of gratitude.” Simply take a few moments every day to focus on the good in your life.
If you are interested in volunteering or donating, go to http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/volunteer for additional information.