Sunday, February 17, 2008


When I was little, I liked to sit on counters.  Whenever I accompanied my mom to the grocery store or the library, I would always ask her to pick me up and place me on the counter.  At home I would hoist myself onto our kitchen counter, using the washing machine below to boost myself up, only to have my dad yell at me to get down when he came into the room.  I don't know why I thought this was so neat.  Maybe I liked that sitting up there made me a little taller; even at such a young age, I was comparably shorter next to my youthful classmates.  Apparently I looked young as well.  One day my mom and I went to the library and picked a few books to check out.  I remember this was the summer that I was going into second grade; when we walked up to the counter to have our books scanned, the librarian looked down at me with her kind eyes and told me that with the books I had chosen, I was a really good reader for being in preschool.  Preschool?  Really?  I was seven.  I simply looked up at my mom, slightly annoyed.  I was too shy to tell the librarian that I was actually older than her assumption.  My mom read my thoughts and informed the woman behind the counter of my actual age, and she apologized immediately, as if she knew her comment would stay with me for awhile.  It did, but after this point, I became used to these sort of comments.  I got used to people saying "you'll appreciate it when you're older."  It has been thirteen years since that fateful day at the library, and I still get these comments.  I wonder if things will ever change.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Thank you

I googled "we can be thankful for" and came up with some of the following results:

-past blessings and hope for future ones
-the efforts of plant pathologists and mycologists who work to keep our food healthy
-an illness because it brought us back to the path we had strayed from
-the peaceful rest of sleep that lets our minds fly to the heights of imagination and settle into the quiet of the darkness
-God's great goodness and mercy
-the mutual aid network of fire departments
-our warm jackets and scarves
-the advances in technology that have made our lives easier
-the admirable safety record of airplanes
-international friendships and helpfulness that know no national borders or barriers in this virtual community
-the small things in life

I received over 368,000 pages when I conducted this search.  I guess this is not a lot compared to the billions of people in this world, but still, that is 368,000 different ways to be thankful.  And there are hundreds of thousands more reasons.  With this in mind, it is discouraging that I see relatively little gratitude on a daily basis in this world.  Sure, people say thanks, but oftentimes without meaning.  "Thank you" in today's world is more out of politeness than out of sincerity.  Maybe it is just easier to write down what we are thankful for than to actually put it into play in our lives.  And maybe people just don't think about their gratefulness unless it is sparked by something.  I must admit that I am this way, just like everyone else.

If you ask someone to write down a list of things they are thankful for, I almost guarantee you that friends and family will make the top of the list.  What about the smaller things?  Drinking glasses, heat, post-it notes, slippers.  And the non-tangible things - smiles, hugs, a kind word.  Aren't these important, too?  I am not denying that it would be improbable to go through our daily lives giving continuous thanks to everything and everyone around us, but it is good to recognize that they are there.

Thus, what to do?  Say thank you and really mean it.  Think about it when you say it.  Do something kind for someone.  Do something that makes someone smile.  Make someone's day.   Be grateful for them and they will be grateful for you.