I’m Supposed To Be Thankful For That?

I grew up during the era when sending thank-you letters for gifts received was a mandatory act.

Even if I didn’t like what I got.

I remember receiving clothes that I thought were hideous. Things I’d never wear. Clothes, I was convinced, that were being re-gifted or had come off some end-of-season clearance rack. Purchased to fulfill a task, not because it was something special.unnamed

My snarky roots go way back.

Then having the discussion of why it was necessary to thank someone for something I didn’t ask for or didn’t want.

The standard parental answer was, “They thought enough of you to get it. You need to be thankful for their efforts and kindness.”

I remember at one point asking if it would be thinking kindly of them if I sent it back with a “no, thank you” note.

Not acceptable.

Our very American Thanksgiving holiday is supposed to be a time set aside to think of all that we have to be grateful for. Not football games or eating binges, but life as we’ve experienced it.

Tough to do when life has been a bit bitter or painful. When the automatic response to what’s happening to me is grief and sadness, not joy and gratitude.

unnamed-1Any time I use the words “thankful” or “thank you”, it really isn’t about me at all. It’s expressing gratitude TO somebody. For something done for me. It’s being thought of, known, seen–never mind the reason why. An acknowledgement that I’m valued by someone.

In the current age of entitlement, it’s easy to lose sight of simple gratitude when we don’t get what we want or expect to receive. It’s the little kid on Christmas morning, rushing through his gifts, and not finding what he expected, throws a fit because his whole Christmas is ruined.

It’s me wanting what I want when I want it. A greater focus on the gift rather than the giver. With no thought to the story or circumstances of the one who is giving me a gift.

I’m not always a gracious receiver.

To pause for a day of true Thanksgiving isn’t choosing between mashed potatoes and sweet. Whether we watch football all day or go out and play football.

It’s intentional gratitude for what we do have. Not that we have it all. Not that we’re in the best possible place in life. But at this time, this moment, life has been given to us.

By God.

We choose how we’ll live it.

“Be thankful IN ALL circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”                                  1 Thessalonians 5:18

For followers of Jesus, we can be thankful in all situations because God is in life with us. It doesn’t mean I glory in pain and loss–mine or another’s. I’m walking through it with the One who fully understands what pain and loss are.

Life is neither easy nor fair. With Jesus, it’s purposeful. With an assured destination.

That’s worth at least a thank You.





10 responses to “I’m Supposed To Be Thankful For That?”

  1. Lee Anne Sorgius Avatar
    Lee Anne Sorgius

    Dayle, I just want to tell you that you are one of the most gracious people I know and one of the most free with your thank you’s. I have seen you give wait-staff a warm smile and a ” thank you so very much” when I have a completely overlooked them. You have taught me a lot in this area. Thank you!


    1. Thanks, Lee! I appreciate your encouragement–truly. You are a truly cherished friend.


  2. Dayle, as a JESUS follower, like you and John, I KNOW I’m valued by SOMEONE SPECIAL! [I’m not always a gracious receiver either.] I think I’ll give my life to purposeful JESUS with an assured destination also! [Thank you for the message of IThess. 5:18 as well.]


    1. You’ve got to love the fact that God gives us many reasons to be grateful–every day of our lives. You’re one of His reasons for me!


  3. It’s eucharisteo that I have forgotten


    1. Throwing theology at me? Well said, my friend!


  4. Thanks….I needed this on this particular morning….really, every morning, but this morning was a great read as I was feeling and speaking “snark” b/c of not getting what I wanted/thought I deserved. Ha. Good thing I never really DO get exactly what I deserve, huh? Love you, girl! Happy Thanksgiving to you and the fam.


    1. It’s SO much easier speaking snark than being grateful. Snark flows from my mouth like streams of not-so-living water–ugh. But you’re right, Pen–we don’t get what we truly deserve. We get so much! I love you, too, my friend. Hope your day was full of God’s blessings and joy.


  5. I am thankful to HIM for YOU… and not just on Thanksgiving either! 🙂 An continual attitude of gratitude can change everything in our lives – present and future. A very powerful reminder. Thank you.


    1. I’m thankful for you, too, Ter. It’s not hard to be grateful for a true heart friend.

      Liked by 1 person

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