It’s considered rude not to say, “Thank you.” It is ruled the kind of basic, general, your mama taught you better, mind your manners, at least you can say kind of thing. If you don’t, you are considered ungrateful and unworthy of the thing, the person, the event and any future gift- giving. At least, you can say, “Thank you.”
But, what if you didn’t want it? Didn’t ask for it and wouldn’t have—ever? What if you received evil? What if you were given pain? What if your life now includes experiences and expressions that you had hoped to avoid: depression and death, betrayal and loss, addiction and shame, violation and isolation? Even as we reject it, we show appreciation for offerings of tasteless meals and tasteless clothes. No, thanks.
Today is Thanksgiving Day but I cannot help but think about the things, the experiences and the people (Let’s be honest here.) that I am not thankful for. I would not thank them or God for what they have said or done, not said or left undone. But, “in everything give thanks” (First Thessalonians 5.18). Everything? Every single thing?
I don’t know if I can do that, at least not right now. Maybe it’s too soon or too late. It’s been a few years in some cases, a few months and even a few days in others and I still feel ungrateful because I am not going to say, “Thank you.” Thank you for the hurt you’ve caused, for the pain I felt, for the weaknesses you exposed and enlarged, for the tears I cried, for the love that died, for turning my life upside down and inside out. Thank you for the setback, for having to start over from scratch, for the bottom of the barrel I scratched in search of the meaning of all this. That doesn’t sound good spoken out loud or printed on a card.
There is no amount of color or glitter or card stock that is going to change how it comes out.
Later today, I will pull up a chair at a table prepared for me because I am not cooking anything! We are going to bow our heads in prayer and offer much thanksgiving. But, in the back of my mind, there will continue a discussion of my disappointments and how I can get my tongue to report back as secretary, “No, thanks.”