Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Giving Thanks

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Total Black: $94.05
Total Red: $231,341.81

My mother, sister, and I are all watching “Only the Lonely.”  I referenced that movie in Never Been Further Apart because the scene where the son, played by John Candy, is arguing with his mother Rose, played by Maureen O’Hara, left an impression on me.  It finally made it’s way up the Netflix queue and I decided to bring it home with me for the holiday.  That scene still affects me, and even the entire film itself somewhat, because it speaks volumes to all the different ways people live with loneliness.  Even though we’re rarely alone.

It’s a day to give thanks.  And thankful I am.  But I wondered this morning on the bus ride back to Scranton why we don’t give thanks more frequently.  I saw recently that Thanksgiving cards have sprung up, seemingly overnight.  I only noticed it the other day while looking for a gratitude / thank you card to send my mother.  I wanted to send her one of those “thanks for all you do for me” cards.  I couldn’t find one in the Thank You section so I looked around a bit more and came across a section with rows of browns and tans and oranges.  A closer look revealed those rows to be Thanksgiving Day cards.

I have to say I think it’s a great idea.  In this fast-paced, distant world, it’s important to pause every so often and let people around us know how much we appreciate them.  Their help, their kindness, their encouragement . . . and perhaps even their bitterness and resentment.  Sometimes negative emotions motivate us more than the positive does.  But giving thanks is just not something that we do all that often.  Sure we say thank you perfunctorily to the “Bless You”s and doors held ajar but how often do we really express our gratitude to each other—a postcard, a card, a quick text message or note—just a small something to let tell those around us know.  Every Thanksgiving I typically send out a flurry of text messages to all my friends wishing them a Happy Thanksgiving.  This year, with my cell phone service still suspended I won’t be able to.  And I can’t receive any of their texts either, if any were sent.  But I trust they know that I appreciate their friendship, their support, and just their presence in my life.

So next year, or even on a random Tuesday sometime soon, why not send someone a text or a pick up a quick greeting card to say thanks.  Send it to someone unexpected.  Maybe a teacher you had in high school or a friend you haven’t seen in a while.  Tell your grandparents how much they mean to you or let a co-worker know you appreciate her help.  Perhaps you can send an ex a quick note to thank them for having been there for you during a really difficult time in your life.  Or drop an extra dollar or two into your favorite barista’s tip jar at your local coffee shop to say thanks.  There’s many ways to give thanks and express gratitude and both you and the person you’re grateful for will enjoy that appreciative feeling.  And this country can surely use more upbeat feelings going around.  Feels like we’ve been at each other’s throats for years now.

This year, as we said grace, my sister and mother mentioned things they were grateful for.  It’s a nice addition to the holiday tradition that I’ll be sure we keep for years to come.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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