It’s harder than it sounds

For Lent, I decided to do two things: collect 40 bags in 40 days and celebrate 40 Days of Thanks.

I’m still not overly concerned with the 40 bags challenge. I haven’t exactly kept up with it, but I’m still confident I’ll get 40 bags out of my house by Easter.

But 40 Days of Thanks is (surprisingly) more difficult.

It’s not that I’m not thankful; I really am. But maybe it’s because I’m looking at my Christmas card list in search of people whose influence on me has been, well, profound.

I’ve now written 7 of my 40 cards (and am 6 cards shy of being up to date) and have identified six others I plan on writing in the next day or so. That still leaves me 27 cards shy of my goal.

Here’s the thing… I don’t like writing stuff superfluously. If it isn’t heartfelt, I won’t write it. If I’m really more annoyed with someone than grateful for their presence in my life (certain former coworkers come to mind), then they won’t make the list.

Does that sound bitchy?

Anyway, I need to reflect more on this and really contemplate the people in my life. I know in my heart I’m grateful for a good number of people.

Maybe I need to take a moment and really think about why.

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3 thoughts on “It’s harder than it sounds

  1. I hope this doesn’t sound morbid, but if I may make a suggestion (this isn’t the morbid part, keep reading). I have a lot of family members who have attended a Christ Renews his Parish retreat (CHRP) and they ask family members to write letter to give to them during their retreat. For the first three letters I had no problem writing how grateful I was that they were in my life, the memories I cherished, and all I looked forward to in the future but by the fourth I had writers block. So I thought about the profound sadness I would feel if they died today and all that I would want to tell them, the gratitude, blessings, memories, and more, that they contributed to my life and how having them in my life has truly enriched it. Maybe it is morbid but it helps.

    • That’s not very different from a retreat I attended my senior year of high school. One of the highlights was receiving letters from others. Some were from students, some from family, but all were little gifts that I still cherish, even 20 years after I first opened them.

      I like your suggestion. This is where I realize I’m a snob (or really just heartless): I’m hard pressed to come up with that list of people who have mattered that much to me. There are the usual suspects, of course, but for the most part, I don’t see myself regretting not having said something after someone dies. I don’t know if that makes much sense.

      When my mother passed 4 years ago, I was devastated. It wasn’t because I didn’t tell her how much I loved her or how much she meant to me or how grateful I was for all the sacrifices she made to raise Big Sis E and me. I told her all of that many times, and she reminded me that I had told her many times. But I was devastated (and still am in many ways) because I miss her so very much. My regret is that I didn’t write down everything that she said or videotape her with my son. And that I don’t get to see her anymore except in dreams.

      Like I said: maybe I need to alter my criteria a bit. This is a good reflective exercise for me.

      But it may also mean that I’m heartless. I guess I’ll figure it out by Easter.

      • I am sorry to read about your mom. I don’t think you are heartless it seems like you are quite the opposite, it seems like you want to be truly genuine with your gratitude and sometimes that takes time. There is still time for reflection; I look forward to reading about your Lenten journey.

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