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Grateful or Indebted?

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On numerous occasions in the course of a single lifetime, one finds oneself grateful — grateful for the support extended by another in times of need; grateful for trust that brings up one’s self-esteem; grateful for words which act as a balm for frayed nerves; grateful for a circumstantial turn of events without which a lesson may not have been learnt… the list is endless. Does that then make us indebted to the one who turns a kind eye towards us or who extends a firm grip to help us back on our feet? Are we beholden to those who come to our aid when our purse hangs limp with nothing inside or when our hearts run dry with no love to cling to? Are we obliged to one who may sacrifice his own peace of mind only in order to settle us in a cloud of calm?

Grateful and Indebted may seem like they go hand in hand but in fact, there is a subtle difference. One can be grateful for much of what happens in one’s life for it may have helped us to overcome a moment which would otherwise have been cold and harsh to bear, but should we have had to bear it, it is probable that we would have done so. In other words, we are grateful for coming out of a storm easier than expected.

But indebted is when one knows for certain that without that helping hand, all would be lost. Indebted is when there is complete conviction that this life would have ceased to be of use were it not for the one to whom we are beholden. Indebted is when we owe all that we are to the one to whom we are indebted. One who is indebted is necessarily grateful but one who is grateful doesn’t have to feel indebted.

Indebted thus, is not something to be taken lightly, nor treated casually, for it comes with a huge responsibility and commitment. And if this can define our human relationships with utmost clarity, so much the more will it allow us to put into perspective our relation with the Divine. The answer of whether we are grateful to God or indebted will be nothing short of a revelation and most undoubtedly chart the course of our life.

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  • http://Website Ram Singh

    Thanks for making the true meaning of grateful and indebted clear to me.

  • http://Website Amal Sircar

    Many thanks for educating us about the difference between ‘gratefulness’ and ‘indebtedness’. Beautiful article…