Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Harder to Say “Thanks”

Is it harder to say “thanks” lately, I wonder??!! Virtually every friend I have, virtually everyone I know has had a rough year, in one way or another: either they have been touched, and not in a positive way, by the state of the world, lost a job, someone they know lost a job, a house, definitely lost all sense of security and hope for a better future; or they have lost someone they knew, or they have lost a little bit of their health, or …

Geography is irrelevant here. It’s happened everywhere this year, it seemed.

People tell me all the time not to be sad, and to just “be grateful” that I have a job and a roof over my head still. And I am grateful. In Romania we say the gift will be taken away from the ungrateful. So, I am grateful. But can you honestly be completely, unconditionally grateful when you see those around you in pain, or need, or want?

A couple of months ago I was really, really ticked off by my mail lady. Yes, I have a mail lady, not a mailman. And for a year and a half since I’ve had her services, she’s ticked me off weekly. I finally brought myself to complain about her to the Post Office. It takes a lot to make me file an official complaint. Really. They wanted concrete examples, and proof, blah blah blah.

And then I sat down and reconsidered this whole thing. In the big picture of things … the facts that I get the mail after 6 PM every night, or I miss bills almost every other month and get the neighbor’s (legal) drugs in my box, the fact that I didn’t get a $10 delivery from Amazon (needed, grated!!) was not worth someone (probably with family and bigger problems than I’ll ever have) losing a job. In this world we live in, I didn’t want someone with maybe 5 mouths to feed jobless and looking for a job … Even if she wasn’t going to lose the job just because of one complaint. I didn’t want to risk it. I didn’t want to contribute to the risk. So I did nothing. The mail is still delayed and screwed up. But I feel happy.

So, whether need and want hits home or close to it, you cannot help, as human, not to care, I think. We are designed to be compassionate creatures, and losing that is losing humanity. It’s being handicapped and being un-whole.

Sure, I am grateful. There are healthy children being born in the world, and healthy families out there – some of them really close to me, there are healing wounds on those who’ve had them open this year, and pictures with smiling faces in them that bear the 2008 time stamp. There is forgiveness, and there is hope. There is one phone call you’re still waiting to make and one phone call you’re waiting to receive to tell you about better days. There’s always hope.

There are families that are still whole and others dented, but united by so much love they just discovered they never tapped into.

I am grateful for all that. I worry. For all of those whose pain and need I know and all of those whom I have not met yet. I worry – but somewhere, in my humanity, I am grateful, too, for the good things we all can see, occasionally!

Happy Thanksgiving, all! And let’s be grateful for the turkey we are eating: whether bought or given, let’s just be grateful it’s there.

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