Powerful Thanks

Gratitude must be one of the most subversive powers on this crusty, old planet of ours. Not a feigned indebtedness or a back-handed form of social or relational manipulation. Just a plain, simple: Hey, I want you to know that I saw what you did – or I see who you are. I see that you’re trying your best. I’m thankful.

What would happen if President Obama strolled over to the GOP on the Hill and (removed from the cameras and without any follow-up request) said, Fellas, this is a fat, hairy mess we’ve got ourselves into, and tomorrow I’m sure I’m going to do something else you hate, God knows you make me want to put my fist through the wall most every morning. But for today, I want to tell you that I know you’re grinding yourself into the ground here. I know you love our country. Thanks. Or what if McConnell sneaked over to the Oval Office (maybe with a bottle of his local Kentucky Bourbon wrapped in a red bow and tucked under his arm) and said, Pres, you know that most days I think you’re a loon, but that’s not the whole story. I see you’re going grey and burning the candle at both ends while the whole world watches. I know you’re doing what you believe in. I know you love America. Thanks.

Yes, yes, I’m dreaming. But wouldn’t it be something?

Several days ago, I told Miska that if our boys ever figured out what they could get out of me if they consistently approached me with gentleness and gratitude rather than demands or arguments, we’d be ruined. They’d take us right to the poorhouse. I’m a softie, and simple gratitude – a hey, dad, thanks for working so hard and loving us so much – would make me putty in their hands.

We have a week now to simply give thanks. Tell people they mean something to you, that you see them. Offer God a simple thank you. Look your lover in the eye and say, If another gift never comes, you are enough.

I don’t know exactly what this gratitude will yield, but it will do something. I know it will.


8 Replies to “Powerful Thanks”

  1. Thank you, Winn, for your written down words, shared with us this last year. Thank you for the blessing of today’s words. May God bless you and your family in a special way this Thanksgiving.

  2. Thank you, Winn for your words of encouragement and insight in this deeply troubled world. I am right there with you when you say if your kids only knew the effect of words of gratitude and gentleness. Actually, my kids have reached the age when they do express appreciation and thanks out of the blue. Keep up the good work! I look forward to each of your posts. And happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  3. I think expression of gratitude actually does happen at the senior levels of our government more than we think particularly in private one-on-one situations. Obama implied as much when he mentioned the other day that leadership in the Senate on both sides expressed privately their frustration with the filibuster process and the need for something to be done and they were (privately) glad the vote to change occurred. But something happens in any attempt to express these feelings publicly. Ultimately, fear of losing their job or “power” as a result of not toeing the party line gets in the way. So there is then a public façade that too often covers up the humanity that does exist. It’s not so different in business, organized religion or any job that is so exposed to public scrutiny that public expressions of gratitude, humility or vulnerability are seen (and felt) as a sign of weakness. Men and women generally don’t make it to these positions without maintaining positive relationships although I agree we see mostly the dysfunction. There is humanity in every person and we can be grateful when we find it.

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