Gratitude gets a lot of good press, and rightly so. Giving thanks for things small and big is good for the giver’s soul . . . and can be enlivening if it’s a person on the receiving end. There are several tasks necessary for the smooth functioning of modern society for which I give thanks . . . thanks that I don’t have to do them.
Many folks get hot under the collar when stuck in traffic behind an 18-wheel (or more) behemoth. If that’s me, it helps to remember and give thanks for those whose vocation is truck driver. Go to the store to buy, well, anything, and there’s a 150% chance a truck brought it there. Back in my hitchhiking days (when truckers could still pick you up) I was riding shotgun in a semi heading for Chicago. When the skyline came into view, the driver pointed to the skyscrapers and commented that he could never sit crammed in an office all day. “I’m sitting in my office right now, and I love it,” he proclaimed. I am so thankful that many men and women feel called to the profession of trucking.
Put a spreadsheet or a complex financial form in front of me and I go dyslexic. Which is why I’m glad to enlist the aid of an accountant to prepare my annual taxes. I even get bamboozled by bank loan application forms. Which is why I’m so thankful for bean counters, bankers, financial consultants, and the like. Without them aiding me, I probably still be in the slammer for attempted fraud.
Spelunking: one of my worst nightmares. It comes right behind going under in a submarine. I don’t do well being physically restrained, which includes going beneath the earth’s surface. Ergo, I am immensely grateful for miners who go underground to extract all the various substances needed for life in our modern world. Next time you strike a match, give silent thanks to the stalwarts who mined the phosphate for it.
One day I was watching my mechanic work on my car’s motor; he knew that I am a lifelong theologian. I mentioned to him that God was easier for me to figure out than the internal combustion engine. His reply: “That’s why you do what you do, and I do what I do.”
If I take something apart to fix, a dime will get you a dollar that a) the repair will fail, and b) I won’t be able to get it back together properly. So I take my leaf blower (for the 3rd time) to my small engine repair guy and he both smiles and shakes his head. I give thanks for mechanics.
The list could go on and on . . . vegetable/fruit pickers, welders, brain surgeons, on and on. Even as I have reveled in parish ministry as my career, I am so, so thankful for others who apply themselves to their chosen vocations with competence and joy.