Last evening I was reflecting on this practice of giving thanks daily. My post yesterday was on preaching, a topic I have written on before but from different angles. I have attempted to be unique every day, to not repeat a specific thanksgiving. That self-imposed requirement has in some ways skewed my reporting. There are some things for which I am very thankful on most of the days of my life, yet I have only written about them once. Similarly, the writings might include indications of the intensity of my thanksgiving but I suspect in most cases it is not clear how thankful I really am.
What would this series of thanksgivings look like if I reported every day on the things for which I was most thankful? I suspect a handful of relationships, memories and experiences would be repeated over and over with a few special entries for surprise blessings. What if the list included those thanksgivings I am not comfortable sharing with others? There are some things that are just too deep and personal to post on a blog. There are things I enjoy that others might consider odd or even childish, beneath the dignity of a Ph.D.
There are some blessings that would be profaned by a public display of gratitude, gifts of grace the giver prefers hidden. Perhaps it is those unmentionable thanksgivings that most shape my disposition toward thanks, those private and intimate exchanges that define my innermost being. These gifts overwhelm and humble, demanding gratitude beyond words or actions. They call forth a thanksgiving that is pure and true, inexpressible yet fully communicable between the receiver and the giver. These are gifts that flow from soul to soul, the gifts by which we know and are known. Combined they create one of the greatest of gifts, intimacy, and intimacy cannot be given away; it must be shared within the boundaries of the givers united in love.
And so this bond is indestructible, as long as the knowers cherish it. No one can steel it, or break it. It can be harmed only by neglect and abandonment. And when it is cherished it bears fruit. “I am the vine and you are the branches.” For this knowing, I am thankful beyond expression.
August 31, 2010