Thursday, March 02, 2006

saying thank you

This sunset is from a completely ordinary evening when I went along with my husband as he set up some butterfly research traps in Mammoth Cave Park, which is about 45 minutes from our house. He has a permit to do research there and I took the camera and saw some of his research sites and watched the birds settle down for the evening and the bats come out as he finished his work. Eventually it was pitch black darkness and time to go home. We had some funny moments--he uses a beer mixture to attract certain butterflies and he spilled some on himself. We got worried that we'd be stopped on the way home and he'd be charged with DUI just because of the smell! However, all was fine. It was peaceful. It was an evening for which I am grateful.

Today I heard that a cyberfriend of mine was touched very personally by the suicide bombing in Pakistan. Her husband was in the hotel that was bombed, but in a computer room for businessmen that miraculously, was unharmed. He came out ok. So many other people did not. Another cyberfriend narrowly avoided a scary crash in a Vermont snowstorm. Every day, we do ordinary things like work on computers or drive our cars. Sometimes, things don't come out ok.

I say all this because lately, I've been very aware of how often I am thankful. I spend a lot of energy being grateful to people. I write email thank you notes multiple times a day. I thank people in stores; I even thank the dogs when they come inside from the yard without a fuss. I was incredibly grateful for the sweet article that appeared in the Raleigh News & Observer. (thank you, Marcy!) Once, I was observed while teaching high school and the teacher observer asked if I had a nervous tick--I thanked everyone so often that the observer thought I didn't know what I was saying. I did know. I meant it.

I get email every week from people who ask me questions about my knitwear designs or articles. I love this mail--it's fun to respond and to hear what people think. It's my chance to interact with the people who buy my patterns or read my articles and it's usually great. Twice this week, I got questions and I responded as soon as I could. I never heard a thing. I didn't even get a thank you. My husband says that we have such a customer oriented society that maybe the art of thank you is getting lost--these folks expect to be served. I'd like to think, instead, that maybe they didn't get my emails? Or, that they meant to be kind, but forgot their manners? Something came up? This experience, this lack of response that happened twice, made me sad, because the world is filled with ordinary, peaceful days, days filled with sunsets and dusk and countless interactions with people. You never know when something scary might happen, when it might be your last time to thank the people around you, or to resolve things. I try to live each day with as much joie de vivre as possible, because you just don't know how safe the ordinary parts of life will be tomorrow. I even try to get my fights over with, so nothing will hang over into the next day, because you don't know how that could affect things. I believe in what Phyllis Diller said, "Don't go to bed angry...Stay up and fight." You can be grateful--even thankful for a lot of things, including a good fight with a meaningful resolution. So, I think seeking resolution is a good thing. Say thank you. Be grateful. Even get down to business and have a good argument, if necessary. Don't put it off.

Thank goodness that my friend's husband is ok. Thank you for all your kind comments; I love reading what you say on my blog comments! I wish I could feed you all a big dinner. We'd have such fun! In the meanwhile, I'm knitting madly on a camisole design and my hands hurt! Let's all hope for a peaceful day or two, ok?


Blogger e's knitting and spinning blog said...

I'm glad he's okay too:-) Thank you for saying what you said because I too have been thinking a lot about gratitude in the last few years. Most of us really don't realize how much we have. Be happy and enjoy every second with all of the lovely people you have the priviledge to interact with every day.

March 3, 2006 at 4:53 AM  
Blogger jenknits said...

Beautiful post, and well said. Thank you for sharing it with us.

March 3, 2006 at 12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm toasting my glass to you!

March 3, 2006 at 6:31 PM  
Blogger June said...

Amen to this post, Joanne! As a person with a debilitating disease I know how important each and every day is, and also how much it means when someone is kind. It all comes down to manners imo. It would be nice if we all remembered our P's & Q's doncha' think?

March 5, 2006 at 7:02 PM  

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