It wasn’t so much what had been said, but rather what hadn’t been.
I wanted to do something special for someone else. I wanted to show them that love and grace can still abide in the roughest seasons of life. But, when it was time to go, there was no “thank you.”
And, I have to tell you…the lack of outward graciousness rolled all over me. Suddenly, I no longer felt happy and excited…but, hurt. And, for a few moments my first response was to want to take it all back.
In the silence of my brooding, thinking about how unfair it was and how ungrateful some people were…how some people just take and take (my thoughts now spiraling to other circumstances and other people)… I mean, really…how hard is it to just say THANKS?!
In that moment, there was a whisper, “So, is that what you did it for?”
“Were you only showing love to feel loved and prideful?”
“Well…no, God. Of course not.”
“So, then why does it bother you so much, my child?”
“…Because people can just be so unappreciative…”
“Because they don’t say thank you?”
“Well, yeh… I guess so…”
“Oh, like the other day when you became so frustrated at having no internet and some of the staff at the university?”
“Yeh, that was a bad day in general…but God, I really don’t see what this has to do with…”
“It has everything to do with it. On that day when your internet was out and certain people in your life were letting you down…did the grass stop growing?”
“Were you and your kids still healthy? In a home? With enough money to pay for your bills? Was there giggling and laughter and hugs? Food in your bellies?”
“So, you want others to be grateful…but are there not times when you could focus more on being gracious also?”
Stunned, I couldn’t help but think about the things in my life I often fail to be grateful for. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful…but how often do I SAY it…or list it? It’s one thing to feel it and dismiss it and quickly go on to the next thing, but quite another to express it.
And, in this deployment it’s just so easy to feel like everything is falling apart. A clingy child, broken something or other, a dad in the hospital, a funeral, and not being able to talk to my husband and feel his comforting arms around me. Some days, I’ve just had enough. Some days, I can’t seem to see past the hard and broken to what lies beyond. And, it’s in those moments that I become ungrateful, refusing to focus on the good.
And, when it comes to giving to others…so often my sense of what’s “fair” and “just” overrides all else… but, by judging who is deserving or undeserving of love and grace is not my place. As Christians, we are called to love others. Their response is neither up to us nor our responsibility. Truly giving is done without strings attached…not even strings attached to a simple “thank you.”