Worth a Thank You

My daughter frequently asks to listen to the Moana song, “You’re Welcome” in which the demigod sings a self enthused celebration about how much he’s given to the people of the islands around him. It’s a fun song, as long as you remember that the song is making fun of people who think too highly of themselves. My two year old has learned words and motions for much of the song, and enjoys it when my husband and I sing along.

Doesn’t it feel like there are all too many people telling us we should be grateful for things that we didn’t need in the first place? Or perhaps I simply feel that there are people who expect thanks for things I didn’t want to have happen. I am reticent to acknowledge folks who require thanks for what they have done.

A thank you is far more genuine when it is unexpected; I want to thank someone when they’ve done something surprising or sacrificial, when I’ve not expected to find or receive the gift that is presented.

It’s funny, we were traveling in DC this past weekend on the metro and I think I was given a seat to sit in far more regularly than when I was further along with my previous pregnancy during our trip in NYC. Not that this is a comment on the metro riders of either city: it was still chilly in NYC when we were there while it was hot the whole time we were in DC, and the clothes I wear when I am pregnant can sometimes greatly reveal my changing shape and sometimes deeply conceal how I am bearing another human being. Also, traveling with a toddler might have affected the responses of strangers.

I most want to thank people who did something outside themselves. The act can be as simple as giving up a seat on a metro train, or as involved as preparing a meal for me while the other was fasting. Or it can be something that the person may not have realized was a huge thing to me, like my friend who consistently makes sure that when we come over to her house for dinner, she prepares food that makes us feel good and fits inside our dietary restrictions, and is something that is delicious.

I cannot always thank people for what they have done, but knowing how I feel about people who act outside themselves makes me want to act outside myself more often. Each time I see an example, I want to follow and live that way, too. I want to live outside myself, give of myself, offer what I have and what I can do and who I can be for others to have a life that is more full. It is my way of saying thank you.


Altered Plans

Yesterday did not go the way I planned.
There was rain all day long. Perfect weather for writing, curling up with a good book and a cup of tea, or having a warm fire in the fireplace.
Not really great weather to drive in.
But drive we had to do to get down to our thanksgiving plans. And there was a parking lot on 85 north of Atlanta, where we sat in the car, inching forward for over two hours.
And I was not the best of riding companions. I usually drive these days, still enamored with my new (to me) car, letting John take the passenger seat for navigation. But I had slept horribly the night before, and felt wretchedly puny, and it would not have been safe for me to drive. Unfortunately I never felt better, so poor John had to drive the whole way.
A seven hour drive took nearly twelve. It was exactly what I had been hoping to avoid. So much for those plans.
So, yesterday didn’t go as planned. It didn’t go as I wanted. I wasn’t able to have dinner with my grandfather and parents relaxing in the place that I know as home.
But, my car made the journey. We never ran out of gas. I didn’t have to stop and go do any business in the dripping wet woods in the rain. There were enough munchies in the car to eat. We had technology that helped us avoid the last stretch of traffic and have a dinner that sustained us along the way.
Yesterday did not go as I planned. But I am feeling better after a good nights rest. Tea and company really are magnificent restoratives. Today I cook, prep, visit, write, and celebrate that I have a warm place to call home. There are situations that could be much worse.
I am grateful that I had a traveling partner who took on the whole stretch of the journey so that I could take time in relative rest and heal. I am grateful that when we crossed the “Yay Bridge” that I had enough energy to cry Yay while we drove across it. I am grateful that I have enough perspective to know that yesterday was not as bad as it could have been, and that I can see blessings in the midst of altered plans.