Sometimes you go to write something – but before you get there, you read something along the same lines. And then you have to choose: are my thoughts still of interest or has (s)he (in this case Matthew Syed)
covered it ? I like Syed. He is thoughtful and intelligent and there can’t ever be too much of that.
Second thought on the subject is that these ideas swim to the top of collective consciousness – by luck, planetary positions, who knows ? Does it matter ? He has written about an appreciation of the gift of life which in the person of a well beloved (in his case, his father) is thank you
for life itself.
Alongside blessing counting which I do out of celebration as well as every time I falter, I say thank you. Usually there is something to say thank you for – say, a night I haven’t awoken with arthritic knee on fire – so often the first thing I say in the morning is thank you. I know who I thank, and as we used to say, it is not illegal, immoral or fattening. I have never objected to thank you, still reeling from the silly girl who said it made her feel obligated.
Which made me wonder – what makes me feel obligated ? And the crisp answer is, nothing I can think of and I have thought.
In my world, kindnesses are freely exchanged. If there is a misunderstanding, it is discussed, resolved and dismissed. If we can’t discuss it, then we’re never going far in the friendship stakes. Which is part of why I blench from “Oh, you must have lots of friends …” No I don’t but the ones I call friends are wonderful. There are of course imponderables – things you have to set aside because otherwise the friendship cannot endure. But that’s a judgement call. Still a judgement call even if you do “nothing” …
I am sure that the willingness to acknowledge and say thank you says something about class, personality and upbringing.
Oh how wonderful to be that much older and not care ! I say thank you because I like to and because so often it brings pleasure. It is such a small thing and it betokens a much bigger one – acknowledgement.
In the online NextDraft (mostly but not exclusively US news items) there is a story about how people struggle to deliver anything from a book to a freezer tray, remaining largely unacknowledged and barred from using the lavatory at the property. (Shades of the film The Help). Perhaps this is the place to indicate
that there is an old unrepealed law in the UK saying that you may knock on the door of any dwelling in the land and ask to use the privy: it may not be denied. Of course this ruling is open to abuse, thievery and knavery but very few knaves and thieves are thoughtful enough to ask to relieve themselves – even if they call it “the toilet” (how I hate that word, reminds me of a hole in the ground).
There are of course big thank you’s – not making it to the plane that goes down, getting through exams, being cleared at least for the time being of some big medical problem, or me the night my son was born. Lord, I was grateful -and I still am. Though that makes me remember another gratitude.
I co wrote a successful little tv sit com. My writing partner went home to the US. The TV company assigned two other writers who of course wanted the job but not me. The writing of the second series was diminished, I was married and pregnant with a much wanted child and the men I had to work with behaved badly. Towards the end of the writing – I had stuck it out – I got up, said goodbye and left. I didn’t scream or shout, I was polite – but I cried till I was sick and then I rang my mother, dreading her response. “Oh darling” she said (never shall I forget it) “I’m so proud of you .” What ? “You have had nothing but trouble with this experience” she said “and all those miscarriages… I was afraid you’d go on and lose the baby …”