Monday, April 6, 2009


I am buying milk. I am in a bit of a rush. Well, my only rush is that I don’t want to be in the store, I want to get this over with as quickly as I can. I look for the shortest line. The young woman at the cash register has done this dozens of times already today. She probably wants this over with as quickly, or more so, as I do. She tells me how much. I give her the money. She then turns and hands me my receipt and my change.

Now is this is the moment. I have a choice to make. I can either grab my purchase and walk out, at which point she will turn to the next in line and start the process again, or I can take another 10 seconds, look her in the eye and say “thank you”.

It seems simple, almost obvious. But what is lost on me often is the enormous importance of those few extra seconds, and those two words. Sure, it’s just change back from my five, but. That quick moment of gratitude acknowledges both of our humanity. It reminds us of the fact that we are not alone.

I’m not sure why, but we stopped giving thanks as a family before our meals. I guess to do so would require some consistency (see Habit). But yikes, I am convicted by my own words here. To miss the opportunity, at least three times a day, to say thank you for all that we have. Why wouldn’t I want to do that?

If I am thankful, I am admitting that it’s not all about me. Gratitude situates me in the middle of things. I am part of something much bigger. I don’t think one even needs to subscribe to any particular deity to get that.

As I type these last words, the sun has risen over Mt. Baker. Lisa is up and I hear the coffee being ground. Aidan has jumped in the shower to get ready for school. Yes, already today, there is much for which to be thankful.