In many ways, thanks is a lot like love. We say we love chocolate and coffee -- a color, fishing, books, and our significant other. When we talk about food or friends, shoes or our grandmothers, we talk of “love” and it comes out sounding just the same. Sometimes we even say we love things just to be polite or to get something in return – those looking for the former are notoriously guilty of this. In the English language, we don’t really differentiate -- we just love. And it’s a curious thing to figure, much like thanks.
Which we give often -- thanks for nothing, for sharing, for sending, thanks for listening. Thanks for dinner. Mindless turns of phrase however fine and culturally useful. And yet, I live under the belief that words mean something – hurting more than sticks and stones and sticking longer and harder than zap-a-gap accidentally dripped on your index finger. Words scar, and words sculpt our ideas and understanding of the world. This, is no light matter.
And so when I say thank you, for reading, for commenting, for your thoughts….I mean it with all sincerity. Thank you.
But intrinsically, I am not a thankful-hearted person. More easily can I say I’m appreciative and grateful, yet these all leave feelings of indebtedness. Which might really be the point -- to know what you’ve received is at cost to someone or something and to appreciate -- yes, to be thankful for -- the gift. To put things in perspective that the world isn’t just you and yours. Yet human nature is not inherently thankful, observe that we have to be taught to share and to say please and thank you -- we're selfish little souls. And although I was taught these things well, my constitution is discontent. Not unthankful, mind you, but thankfulness seems tainted with a satisfied complacency, an acceptance of what one has been given is all one will get -- I’m thankful just to be here, for example.
|"Butter Boys" by Eva Zimmerman|
But I’m not. I’m not thankful just to be. Anything. It is not greed, but perhaps the disruptive quality of curiosity poking holes in my personality -- my inquiring mind does want to know -- there must be more to it, there has to be. And why? I’m here to do something, to think, to write, and to live with integrity in the definition of words, for they in the end will define me. Words will be spoken of me after death, and will these words be honest with thanks and love? Or rote -- my name filled into blanks in a funeral service template.
Today is Thanksgiving, and today I will put a large turkey in my old gas stove -- more than enough for a small dinner for two, schnups for one dog, and copious leftovers for a week. And today I am thankful -- for words and love – for the love of my family, my dog, and a good man.