On the 5th of June I thought I was thankful for air conditioning. I now realize I was just a little appreciative. It has been over 100 two days so far this week. I just came in from checking on a few things and letting the cows into another section of the pasture. It’s 10:20 P.M. and 87 outside. I am wet with sweat. My heart is full of gratitude for air conditioning.
I guess thankfulness can be measured by intensity, endurance, and consciousness. During weeks like this it is impossible not to be conscious of air conditioning. Cool air envelopes you as you step inside whispering “this is a good place to be; come in and enjoy the comfort.” When it is only 80 outside that comfort is easy to ignore and thanksgiving is surely less intense. Cool air becomes a right and not a blessing; thanksgiving dies a quick and painless death.
If I have learned anything in this journey into intentional thanksgiving it is that conscious, intense, enduring thankfulness is hard to maintain. I am more inclined to be conscious of new, or at least renewed, blessings. Thanksgiving is a dish best served fresh, or is it? Perhaps the thanksgiving that really counts is that which endures in our consciousness long after the fresh has wilted. I’m thinking of the thankfulness that flows through the parent of a sick child conquering the fear and uncertainty of the night. Or the thankfulness of an elderly couple gingerly supporting each other as they walk through the park. These thankful hearts are anchored in a peace planted deep in the heart. It is a thanksgiving that flows not out of external blessings but rather out of a connectedness to others. It comes to those who recognize that the true gift is always the giver themselves. The truly thankful are the ones who have learned to receive the gift of love. That thanksgiving consciously and intensely endures the greatest of disappointments; it comforts in all the conditions of life.
August 4, 2010