Dear Readers (and you are dear to me),
It is nice to know that some of you have chosen to join me on this experiment, endeavor, whatchamacallit, all in the effort to better understand Gratitude and how and why we say Thank You.
I admit the last two weeks have seemed a bit crazy-pants, but there is purpose in the madness.
For those of you playing along, you may have realized that last week was not really about keeping a tally of how many times you said “Thank You” or “I appreciate it”, although that was literally what I asked you to do.
No, last week was about mindfulness. I called it taking your temperature. What keeping a tally forces us to do is pay attention to when and how we say Thank You.
You may remember our first Watermelon week. We learned that if you use a word over and over it can begin to lose its meaning. I don’t know about you, but while taking my Thank you temperature last week, I found myself using the words FIVE times at one drive-thru spot. I guarantee that the fast food service industry has not improved so immensely that it was necessary to slather on the gratitude as I seemed to. But that is when I realize it: I am not always grateful when I say “Thank You”.
That kind of hit me in the pit of my stomach.
If I’m not grateful, why do I say thank you? Is it simply to meet cultural norms? Is it because I feel the need to make my mamma proud? (I really do hope you are proud, though, Mom.)
I think there are a lot of reasons, but here is one I’ve been thinking about for a while: We long for the miracle that is Gratitude.
Think about this for a minute. Gratitude is a tiny miracle that we get to participate in every day. For one small space of time we are not thinking only about ourselves. In true gratitude we are endeavoring to shine a light on the efforts or accomplishments of someone else. But we are selfish in our nature as humans so how does this happen? It is and can only be a grace given to us from our Father in Heaven.
The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary defines Thanksgiving as this:
“A duty of which gratitude is the grace. This obligation of godliness is acknowledged by the universal sentiment of mankind; but as a Christian grace it has some blessed peculiarities. It is gratitude for all the benefits of divine Providence, especially for the general and personal gifts of redemption.”
Basically what all of those fancy words mean (mine and those wiser than me) is that when we are truly grateful and show true gratitude it is not about us, it is from and to God. The only reason we are able to feel gratitude is because of His Grace.
So, here is our assignment for this week:
Keep a tally (or be mindful) of when others say “Thank you” or “I appreciate it” to you.
Sometimes you will see the miracle of the existence of gratitude (and I bet when you recognize it- your breath will be taken away) and sometimes it will just be the words our mothers said we should say. I want you to begin to collect examples of each and hide them in your heart. Begin to decide what needs to change in your own understanding of Gratitude and what that will look like in comparison and contrast to the rest of the world.
We decide which one it will be. Do we let God guide our Thank you’s into beautiful meaningful miracles, or do we try to make it all about us and let them become nothing but words.
Love to you all,