This morning as I prepared my coffee I thought about the soil that grew the beans. I thought about the weather that helped the plants grow. I thought about how the beans were harvested from the land. Was it by machine or was it by man? If by machine, did the machine rip the bean from the soil, damaging the bean and the land? Or by a man who took his time, selected only what was ready to be picked? Was that man treated well by his employer? Did he earn a fair wage? Did he enjoy his work?

I thought about what happened after the bean left the farm. Traveling by truck to a factory. The bean roasted then crushed into grains of dust. Next to be vacuumed sealed into bags that have been labeled for sale. Then packaged into boxes to be transported all over the world.

How many people would have to touch the coffee bean in some way for me to have this cup of morning coffee. This cup of coffee sitting steaming hot next to me, giving off that aroma that I love so much to be the fuel that inspires me to write this post.

How many people? There is no way I could thank them. There is no way I could even guess at the number of people it took to get this cup of coffee from the soil to my hand.

A lifetime worth of gratitude was given to me in the first cup of coffee that I drink, daily.

What do I do daily that is an act of gratitude?

All too often I do things in search of gratitude. I write a post and wait for a thank you e-mail. I photograph a wedding and we receive a five star review on some site (thank you for that, it helps a lot). If we receive a 4.8 or 4.9 we comb through the photos trying to find where in the photos we did not deliver five star work.

Even if I do a random act of kindness to a stranger on the street I patiently wait for the thank you from them. If I do not receive the blessed thank you, my act of kindness does not feel validated.

How much good does the world give to me in my cup of coffee? This may seem like a grand reaching thought about a cup coffee, and it is. Noticing the good that people do is harder than it seems. I have a guiding theme in my life: do as little harm as possible and be aware of the harm that you do. Later on this week I will write a post on that topic.

Through a conversation I had yesterday morning it got me thinking about going deeper than noticing harm, but also to notice the good (good to the last drop...just had to) that is done for us, all of us behind the scenes of life.

Deep bows of gratitude to all that help to get this cup of morning coffee in my hand. I do love it.....