I am thankful that Thanksgiving is nearly over. Only a few more daily “I am thankful for …” posts on Facebook and Twitter.
I love my friends. I don’t mindlessly “friend” every person who bumps their grocery cart into me. I’m a selective Facebooker.
But, even so … the string of daily posted thankful messages can wear. When you’re thankful your manicurist convinced you to try “Berry Naughty”, well, really? Really?
Deep down, I guess I am thankful for these thankful posts, even the seemingly frivolous ones — as they’re much better than the mean-spirited and loud political ones of the past few months.
First, there are the thankful people who have lived amazing lives … recounting their adventures, day by day. “I’m thankful for my time in the Peace Corps when I built a road for an isolated village in Paraguay.” “I’m thankful for my mother who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr.”
But, even amazing lives peter out as the month goes on. What began as “I’m thankful for the people I met when I worked in an orphanage in Nepal”, by now has become, “I’m thankful the grocery store had Panko crumbs this afternoon. Dinner is saved!”
I love the spirit of these messages. But, there’s also an underlying sense of failure for the rest of us. I haven’t lived an exciting life. I haven’t done amazing things. Now, I just feel bad. Put on the spot, I’m really just thankful that my husband cleaned up Smokey Jo’s hairball this morning, allowing me a few extra minutes of sleep.
There’s another kind of serial thanker out there: The person who has decided to thank family and friends, by name, every day. This is a brilliant marketing strategy. We all tune in daily – hoping, expecting – that we will be named next.
I’m beginning to lose hope with one longtime friend, who has mowed through three, four people a day, and has now taken to thanking the birds who stopped by the feeder outside her kitchen window.
I’m thinking that perhaps I could draft up a nice little something about me that she could post. I could remind her of all the reasons why she ought to be thanking me, including that I have now saved her the trouble of writing up something about why she is thankful for me. I guarantee, your house finches will not be so thoughtful.
I am thankful. Honest, I am. I am thankful for every moment, at least I try to be. So what if I don’t feel the need to share every detail with the world? Because, when you’re so vocal in your thanks for the things in your life, you may be hurting someone else because they do not share your good fortune.
Grateful that your home survived Superstorm Sandy? Of course you are. But, remember that someone near you was not so lucky. Don’t revel. Don’t gloat by saying you’re thankful that your candidate won, saving the world from certain destruction. Conversely, don’t pout by saying you’re thankful that, while your candidate lost, God will save the world from certain destruction.
See? It’s hard to be thankful and humble at the same time. At least on the Internet.
But, I’m thankful for you.
Even if I don’t know you. If I DO know you, you have enriched my life in the flesh. But, even if I’ve never laid eyes on you, you’ve been kind enough to read these words from time to time. And, that is a very generous thing to do.
Really, I’m thankful for you.
Six years ago, my dad died. On Thanksgiving Day.
A friend said, “Your Thanksgivings will never be the same.” But I disagreed. My dad knew that I loved Thanksgiving (and the Macy’s Parade and the Rockettes. Oh, the Rockettes!).
He wouldn’t want to take that joy away from me.
My dad gave me my love of sports. Although he preferred the Rams (L.A. and St. Louis) and the Lakers (L.A., but not Minneapolis).
He would root for the Dodgers, if pressed, but he never quite understood my love of baseball. “You didn’t get that from me, kid.” But, he was all about sports, so I probably did.
For years, he would, in the name of economy, save his copies of Sports Illustrated and mail them to me – often with little snarky comments written in the margins, and pictures of his favorite NBA players circled in Sharpie. Sure, just getting me my own subscription would have been cheaper. But, not nearly has special.
So, I’m thankful for my dad. And, for baseball. And, for the off-season, which is a nice time to catch up with life, and start that beautiful longing for the next game.
And, you. Don’t forget that I’m thankful for you.
“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” ~ The Buddha