And hey, thanks! (You’re welcome) 24 November 2010
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the United States of North America and I’m musing about the “thanks” word. For some years now, I’ve been noticing that an expression of thanks to another person is seldom met with the response I grew up hearing, which was always, “You’re welcome,” meaning, “You are welcome to what I have given you (my time, my attention… my heart).” I really miss hearing “You’re welcome.” And I don’t particularly appreciate the current, oh-so-common, “No problem” – apparently the new “you’re welcome.” (I do, though, appreciate that someone has declared sixty the new forty. No problem!)
Is it passe (sorry, no diacritical mark for the “e”) to still think it’s important to graciously receive an acknowledgment of appreciation, whether given to a dime store clerk or filling station attendant (yes, I’m testing you), or at the supper table (that other filling station so few families gather ’round anymore)? “No problem” seems to mean something like, “Okay, man; you didn’t put me out.” (That’s southern for “you didn’t make my life too crappy.”) And I suppose that is one way to acknowledge someone thanking you. At the same time, though, it seems to reflect an “all about me” attitude. Oh, I know, I know. I’m really starting to sound like my elders, but I’m seriously curious:
Is this just me?
Does anyone else feel the same?
Should I create a “You’re Welcome” page on Facebook? Feel free to steal my idea and run with it, any of you FB devotees. No problem!
Okay, so I’m done with that little rave and ready for the real reason for today’s Thanksgiving Eve post about gratitude and thankfulness. I’ve been thinking about these words for awhile now and am prompted to write because I’ve been asked to make a list of five things I’m thankful for, to be shared in a sort of “round robin” at the Lupers’ Thanksgiving table tomorrow. And yes, I’m greatly grateful for both invitations – sharing a special meal with people I care about and sharing with each other our gratitude lists.
Oftentimes, gratitude revolves around an objectified “other” (God!) to whom one is grateful: “I’m so grateful, God, that you gave me this (and not that). And I pray, God, for no more ‘that’ – okay?” It seems to me that such expressions are about relief, not gratefulness. To be grateful is to experience the Great Fullness that is ever present and that is never based upon the capricious whims of a god favorably disposed to us one day, withholding the next. This “great fullness” is ours and can be embraced at any moment because it is simply that which creates and nourishes (and IS) the All. It is the One giving birth to the Two, is the dance of the Two within the Great Bowl of Sufficiency that is the One.
The in-spirit group known as Abraham begins all conversations with a question: “Are you enjoying the contrast of your time and place?” In other words, are you able to appreciate things exactly as they are, right here, right now? We can cultivate an appreciation for things as they are; we can embrace the Buddha’s realization that the only suffering is in our expectation that life be other than it is. In this realization, one is invited to hold a willingness to say “Yes!” And we say that “yes” to the Isness of Life Itself, rather than to a deity requiring our worship, who gives with one hand, then takes with the other. Meister Eckhart’s, “If the only prayer you say in your life is thank you, that would suffice,” is equivalent to Buddha’s, “Just say yes.” If you want to say “Thank you” to God, then say it for everything, not just the things that make you feel good.
For many of us, such a practice goes against the common grain. The pull is always to ask, “But why? But how? But what about me, God?” So many religious traditions still hold to an understanding of a god of laws that must be obeyed; otherwise, something bad will befall us, some punishment will be meted out. Reward and punishment are man-made concepts with roots in a belief in separation from Source Energy (God). Cause and effect, however, are based on the universal law of Divine Oneness and its automatic reciprocity of giving and receiving, of reaping what is sown. Any so-called laws of God not based in Love are man-made and reflect the separation belief, the perennial “my tribe is right, god is on our side” way of looking at life.
This Thanksgiving, let us be thankful for the Bowl of Great Sufficiency that is the One expressing as the ten thousand things, the Bowl within which we live, move, and have our being. Let us express to one another our appreciation for acts of loving kindness; for expressions of heartfelt generosity; and for gifts of partnership, tending, and thoughtfulness as we partake of the bounteous harvest that so many of us will enjoy and share at dining room tables. Or at soup kitchens. Or at campfires. Or at The Border Restaurant, two blocks from my house, where owner Jerry has given a free meal on this day to anyone who wants it for the past I don’t know how many years. Can we break bread together standing upright, standing tall in the Love that made us, the Love that sustains us, the Love that brings us together and keeps the world spinning? Just say “Yes!” And hey, thanks!
© Amy Pierce and In Spiritual Wonder, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Amy Pierce and In Spiritual Wonder with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.