I just finished another Anne Lamott book. Its her new one Help Thanks Wow. (This has been the year of Anne Lamott for me.) I got home last night after work and was Chatty Cathy with Gregg, rambling about what I had learned over my lunch break when I read her Thanks chapter. I thought I would relate more to her Help chapter, since I recently sent an email to my girlfriends asking for post-baby help. But it was Thanks that got me.
Thanks was different than I anticipated. She actually wrote a lot about looking out for the good when circumstances are not. She doesn’t write about being thankful for the hard or tragic circumstances, but about trusting God in the middle of them and searching for what you can be thankful for afterwards: what you learned, who was brought close to you, etc.
There’s a lot of sad going on right now. Even though its Christmas and its the season for joy and family and friends, but, along with the school shooting which the entire nation is mourning together, there have been a handful of tragedies closer to home. To be thankful for the tragedies doesn’t seem right. But, maybe her point is to recognize God in the middle of them and to know that good will come.
She also writes about thanks in action. The whole “to whom much has been given, much is required” thing. She says that this does not just apply to the Kennedys and the Romneys. I like that. Its us, we should give, even the smallest kinds of giving can mean a lot to the recipient.
Example. My grandmother is one of the most generous people that I know. This year for Christmas, she gave each of us grandkids a gift that was even bigger than her usual. To say thanks and Merry Christmas, I sent her some sweets and a scarf that I had knit (she’s a knitter, too). My mom said that she was overjoyed with the package, especially the scarf. She said she’s knit for other people her whole life (she’s 92), but no one’s ever knit anything for her. It was not a big deal for me to knit her a scarf with some white, lacey yarn that I had had around for awhile. It was almost silly to me that she was so excited, since, compared to her gifts to her 5 grandchildren (she also has 3 children and 8 great-grandchildren,) the scarf and candies were beyond miniscule. But, as small as it was, my thanks made a difference to her.
P.S. I’m getting really annoyed by the use of the phrase “a lot.” I’m open to substitutes if you have any suggestions.