“I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful to God for all his blessings. I’m thankful for my friends, for my job. I’m thankful for my wife. She means the world to me and always has my back.“
I’ve heard many thankfulness speeches, most of them are encouraging and sincere. I love the act and intent of being thankful. My childhood table growing up was full of faith and the opportunity to know, to get, and to be thankful. We would not eat a single bite of the meal (minus the sneaky morsel or two) until we’d all given our best list of what and whom we were thankful for.
I remember great days in the Elgersma home too. We said thanks, prayed, feasted, and played Rook and Shanghai, and boy did we have fun. I’m thankful. But I remember rougher days in the Elgersma home. Sometimes they were health related, sometimes they were job-related, sometimes we’d experienced death, or missed someone who is no longer with us, such as grandma and grandpa. I’m thankful for those memories too.
I Got To Be Something
I got to be something special to my grandpa. I remember how my grandfather sat me on his lap, and called me “Champ.“ He had a warm voice, with a timber I can’t exactly describe to you. Mom has his voice on reel to reel, recorded somewhere between 1981-83 before his death due to heart disease. Back then cataract surgery meant a large gauze-ridden wrap around the head and over the eye with days in the hospital. That’s one of the memories I have of grandpa, there at Sioux Valley Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD. Memory flashes really, but he’d come away from things like that with the kind of poise needed to go home, head to work at the college, or tend to his beloved roses. He lived a life that didn’t only show thankfulness, but to appreciate what and for whom he gave thanks. There we kids were by Grandpa’s lap. We all got to be his. We got to be something. I got to be Champ. You all deserve to be something too, don’t you?
Thankfulness With Appreciation
Now I need to head into the purpose of real connections which are real relationships. Monique and I, as part of Real Connections Counseling, serve couples. We teach them to practice appreciation of, and for, each other. And so couples: the next couple of minutes are yours. Your spouse is not just a human. He/she is your human. Better yet, (much better), he/she is your John, Rick, Monique, Beth, Ginny, Conner, Erin, David, or Mary. How many times have we heard (or said), “I shouldn’t have to say it [the words], he/she knows I love him/her,”? The fortunate part of being human is that we get to feel things, and we get to feel love, we get to feel and know love … we get to feel and know appreciation. The point? You should have to. In fact, you must say the words. “I love you.” You get to say the words. You get to say that and more.
Thanksgiving in our world is much more than “thanks.” In our world, we learn to appreciate. Why? Because you should have to. That’s how relationships work. Your spouse is amazing, and beautiful. He or she has faults, of course. But they also make you laugh, or mesmerize you with poetry. She might leave the socks on the floor, but she can flip an egg like no other (I’m just not a precision egg flipper). He might still smoke but he can also sing, fold clothes really well, and he can make others feel like a million bucks. She might be a frazzled, messy parent, but she is beautiful, and dare I say, sexy? I dare.
5 Ways YOU Get To Be Something
Appreciate your love. Appreciate your lover. You get to be something. Here are five ways you might get to be something. You can think of more, I just know it. Dream of ways your spouse gets to be something today. Then give thanks for that.
1. “I am so grateful to my wife. Whenever I reunite with her after a day of work she comes straight to me, and gives me the softest, most tender kiss on the side of my cheek, on my jawbone, and then on my lips. Every day. I appreciate the tender love, but I also appreciate the person that seems to know exactly how to make me feel like I’m hers.”
2. “I’m much more than simply thankful for my husband. He rarely only takes initiative for stuff around the house when I’ve said something, though he does what I need then too. Before I know it the laundry is started, the bathroom is clean, and the madhouse of a living room that was full of toys one moment, is clean the next. This isn’t magic – no, this is my champ of a husband.”
3. “Right now I just have to appreciate my wife’s voice. Yep, she loves to talk, and you might think my head would be swimming most of the time, but mark my words her voice is could be the birdsong in the forest and the whisper of a cool breeze on a summer day, but for me, her voice, and her words are my happy place.
4. “My hubby doesn’t exactly have a knack for cooking. But he’s brilliant in other ways. For instance, he’s the best researcher I know. Whether it comes to buying anything new or used, he’s able to find information about that thing that the average human wouldn’t know to look for. I don’t know how he does it, but he’s saved us a bundle because he’s awesome at it!”
5. “Maybe you could tell if you knew her, but my wife is the “fix-it” guru of the house. I’m not kiddin’ you, she can wire up lights, she can put in new door handles, she can set a sink, hang a door, build a door frame, build a deck, and a lot more. If she doesn’t know how to do something, a little while with YouTube and she’s good to go! She’s handy, and funny to boot!”
And there it is. Let me take this moment to tell you that each of the above examples contains a little bit of my bride. She is the fix-it lady, she’s an excellent cook, her voice is my heaven, she’s exceedingly beautiful, and she can simply see what needs to be done, and then do it. What a gift she is to me. Gift appreciation to someone else, and you’ll create a game-changer at the Thanksgiving table.
You can make thankfulness a soft list of things and people, and you know what? That’s ok. But you all have the opportunity to reach out to your kids, your parents, your grandparents, or your friends, and allow them to be something. And I know you know from experience that once you get to be something, many of us stay something. At my Thanksgiving table this year, I’m going to sit there with our bounty and remember that I am the champ. At what? There are ways. Somehow my grandpa could see them long ago in a smile, a wink, and a moment on his lap. I hear ya, Grandpa, and that feels so good. Thanks.
Appreciation on this new Thanksgiving day could mean a new life for some of you. I hope you take this on and if you do, you’ll make going around the table something unforgettable.