my friend andy behrens recently said on his facebook feed: “I am thankful for humility, and this reflection I share with everyone, and I want it displayed next to my picture where you can all read it.” (as you can plainly see, andy is a sage).
sometimes that's how it feels when i try to write about my blessings--like i'm doing it so everybody can witness my thankfulness. for that reason, i don't generally post my "thankfuls". i don't know how to do it gracefully.
about 20 years ago i started writing letters to friends and loved ones to tell them why i was thankful for their presence in my life. i started with my family, and from there expanded to include colleagues, teachers, etc. in this way, i could offer each person my true, heartfelt sentiments of gratitude and appreciation, without fanfare and with no expectations.
my letter writing campaign continues to this day, but this year i have decided to share some of my thanks "in public", where the lessons i learned from various people i've known can be recognized for their contribution to a better me.
i thank my father for teaching me that i am smart. when i was younger than ella, he trusted that i could understand big ideas and big realities, and he taught them to me the way he has always done things--by example, and with the pithiest, most concise explanation possible. this is partly due to his limited command of the english language but it is also a function of who he is--a man of few words, deep thoughts, and practical wisdom.
i thank my mother for teaching me to never ruin someone else's fun on purpose. she has taught me over and over, by her gracious example and occasionally by her firm but loving words that when someone has expressed a fondness for romance novels or polka music or sequined holiday sweaters, making wisecracks about it just drives a wedge between us and makes me look like an ass. sometimes the wedge is ok with me :) but looking like an ass never is.
i thank my sister "tallulah" for teaching me that loyalty doesn't mean dishonesty, and that to tell someone the truth might hurt them today but tomorrow it will ultimately set them free.
i thank my sister bina for teaching me that to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of others does not in any way diminish my own, and that in fact there is great joy and satisfaction in being the one who gets to cheer.
i thank my brother andrew for teaching me to work hard at whatever comes along, and to not be too proud to start over when necessary.
and finally, i thank my sister lala, for helping me learn that i can walk thru anger, grief, and loss, into a deeper empathy for another's pain, and that in the end, i still choose love and forgiveness.
with best wishes and many thanks to all my readers,