What does it mean to be “thankful”?
I know, it means having a distended stomach, and wondering if you will live until leftover sandwiches! Watching TV and playing like all the people in the house are not getting on your last nerve.
The truly simple and strangely absent definition is that “thankful” means what we do tomorrow.
Some people will return to risking everything they have to build a new business. Some will turn and continue to invest their fifth, twenty-sixth year or more into their marriage and family. Some will go back on patrol of our borders or in other countries. Many will go back to work in stores, hospitals, police and fire stations, governmental offices doing jobs we really don’t want to know about.
Thanksgiving and thankful go way beyond any specific emotion, ultimately to some form of courage or grit where I return to life, roll up our sleeves, and do what needs to be done, that has fallen to me. Glorious or mundane, courageous or grinding, I do what falls to me to do.
However tired, full, joyous, or achingly empty, it shows us all how ‘thankful’ you are and for what, really.
The simplest discipline is a blank page.
It does not matter if I am journaling, writing creatively, corresponding, tackling a project that shimmers in data and technical work, or writing a blog — the simplest discipline is a blank page.
I make my students do this, push my sons to do so, and push (if you have known Jill for a nanosecond you know I speak of an impossibility here) Jill to pull out an empty piece of watercolor paper; and begin.
Mickey walked me through ten pages echoing his terror — at beginning. He plans his day, outlays when and how much and then languishes as the terror infuses the procrastination with a stymying stoppage of everything. I read his journal and then downloaded it to converse with each paragraph and sometimes each line. I don’t do that grading everyone, and I don’t do therapy, but I could not help but engage his horror at starting, much less following through.
It strikes me, that if we live long enough we will not take anything for granted. Getting out of bed is courageous, more for some folks than others. Walking over and starting — anything — is a gift, if you can do it. Don’t take it for granted that everyone can get up, walk over and start something.
I responded to Mickey, but that doesn’t mean I did anything more than offend him, except to tell him to get help. Real help.
So, the next time that you have an empty sheet and you begin — anything, whisper a small ‘thank you’ that you are doing it without thinking about it so much that the page remains blank.