I am whizzing down the highway (I-10 to be exact, going east towards Phoenix). Someone is driving. It’s a five hour drive between Palm Springs and home. This is plenty of time to for me to sit and ponder.  On these journeys my mind is a usually a blank. I have a two more hours to kill; I figured I’d get out George III* and write out some Spo-thoughts.

Thanksgiving is coming up, so ‘being thankful’ is on my mind. Certainly, I have much for which to be thankful. I won’t be maudlin or boring to list them all. I am a fortunate man.

In my line of work, I listen to people’s ingratitudes, not their gratitudes. Some of this is illness: for people with clinical depression (with real losses to boot)  it is genuinely difficult to be grateful.  Nevertheless, every holiday season I hear a lot of complaints from people on what they don’t have.

Ingratitude is a particularly ugly thing. Rudeness is negative to negative but ingratitude is a negative in response to a positive.  Thanksgiving is supposed to be a holiday when we focus on the good in our life – not that everything is good, but despite what we don’t have we have something.  Being alive and surviving life’s many ills is a gratitude in itself. Whiners and drama queens who ‘don’t buy this’ elicit little empathy.  I point out to them all the people I have known, personally and professionally, who did not live to their present age. They would have given everything to be where they are, complaining as they do.

On this week of thanksgiving, I will focus on the good in my life. I will have a simple holiday dinner, with people for whom I care, and say more than one prayer of gratitude. I will reflect on the irony of the people who on Thursday didn’t focus on what they have but will rush out on Friday to get more of what they don’t need.

*We recently christened the new laptop “George III”,  for it is our third laptop.  Hopefully it won’t go crazy on us too quickly.

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