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Thankful for. . .?

     This year I'm thinking we should be thankful for the things we're not thankful for. Like trips to the dentist. Don't believe I ever said thanks for a trip to the dentist. Said a few other things… But thanks to those unappreciated trips, I still have all of my very own teeth. Some even have little white caps on them. Very nice. Thank you.

     Never was thankful for homework. When I was a sophomore in high school and stayed up 'til three in the morning trying to solve that danged extra-credit geometry problem, I never said thanks to my teacher. All through high school and college I never said "Hey! Thanks for the homework!" But today I know a lot more. I've earned a few paychecks. I can help with a math problem when my son calls to ask if I remember how to divide fractions so he can explain it to his son, my grandson. I can read a financial report and once in a while, I actually get my tax returns right. Which is something else I never give thanks for. Filling out tax forms. Let's skip that one.

     When I drove past that dead skunk on the road, I sure didn't give thanks for the smell. But if I couldn't smell the skunk, I wouldn't be able to smell the scent of warm cinnamon wafting through the mall as I walk by the Cinnabon place. Thank goodness I can smell!

     I sure didn't lift my heart in thanks when an employee dumped her list of complaints on my desk. But when she walked out thirty minutes later, problems solved, I had a friend for life.

     When my favorite sweater came out of the washing machine littered with those little pills of lint, I wasn't giving great cries of thankfulness. Then one day on a whim, I took the sweater to the dry cleaners and what do you know? They returned that sweater in brand-new shape – not a pill to be seen. So now I'm free from Washing Machine Fear. I throw everything in with carefree abandon: what the washer mangleth, the dry cleaner will fixeth. I know. Pollyanna.

     But don't you get tired of saying thanks for the same old things, year after year? I mean, it's nice to have them, but how about thanks for the pitfalls, the setbacks, the flat tire? Maybe we should be thankful when the movie is boring, the popcorn is stale and no one wants to go to the fair with us.

     Maybe we should. Maybe we shouldn't. What I'm thinking is, I'm always thankful when I get something new. I remember when I got my shiny new car. I gave thanks the very next Sunday at church. Everyone surrounded my car. It was beautiful. Two days later I got the monthly payment coupons. Three days later, I got my new insurance rates. Maybe I shouldn't have been so thankful?

     And when I got my new computer I was overcome with gratitude, but after I recovered from my elation I spent two hours figuring out how to turn it on and three hours figuring out how to write a letter on it.

     Got a new job. Great! Thanks be. Fatter paycheck, shorter commute, higher position. And that wasn't all. Add: tyrannical boss, dawn to dark hours, stuck in a narrow cubicle. I took back the thanks.

     So now that Thanksgiving's here, what are you thankful for? Your family, your friends, your home… But what about the leaky plumbing and the stack of bills? What about the grouchy neighbor who might be your friend by this time next week? Well, you never know.

     When you say grace over your turkey this Thanksgiving, think carefully about what you give thanks for. Will it be good? Or will it backfire? Only the turkey knows…

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