Show me a grateful person, and I’ll show you one who’s lived well, loved well, one who’s laughed with children and marveled at full moons.

A grateful person has learned how to give gifts and (perhaps more importantly) how to receive gifts. You can learn to bluff your way through gift-giving, you can offer the gift and still stay in charge. However, receiving a gift – that’s another thing altogether. When someone looks straight into you, beaming. Or hugs extra long and extra tight. Or offers you something you know cost them dearly. All these require a humble grace to receive, with only a thank you┬áto offer in return.

This past birthday weekend, Miska said to me, I hope you can receive the love that people who care about you are going to give you. I hope you can just receive it with open arms. She said this because she knows it’s not easy for me, to be humble and receive. I still have fondness for the illusions that I’m the one who takes care of others, I’m the one who doesn’t need anything. What a bunch of rubbish.

This week, we’re given a stretch of days designed for exactly this purpose: to be grateful, to receive, to give thanks. Let’s give ourselves to gratitude not only around the table (though there as well, by all means). Let’s also do it when we’re playing with our kids and reading good words and breathing crisp air and receiving the smile of a stranger. And let us all turn to God with the deepest prayer I know: Thank you.

And I do want to say – I’m grateful for you joining me here, chewing on these words over the past year. I do love to give away the words. Thank you for receiving them.

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