5 things to do when there is no reason to say “thank you”.

On the face of it, this seems to be yet another gloomy post from a semi-depressed Brit hammering his way through another Finnish winter, but stay with me.  It’s gets better.  🙂

These words aren’t necessarily from me.  Many of them have come from much wiser, and sometimes older, people than me.  If you spot your words here, “Thank you.  You have made a difference”.  I found myself adding a bunch of music clips too, which is not my normal style.  Not sure what’s come over me …

1.  Say “thank you”

…  because things could be worse.   If you are feeling like there is no reason to say “thank you” for anything, then at least you are alive.  You are are alive, you are breathing and life goes on.  That might not be quite what you want to hear, but from what I can see, the readership of this blog mainly lives in the developed world, with access to shelter, food, companions and safety.

Take a deep breath, friend.  You can get through this.  I, for one, am on your side.  Whoever you are!

2.  Say “thank you”

… that this too will pass.  The thing with tough times, particularly when they have been going on for a long time, is that we begin to forget how things used to be.  We start to think that this is all there is and that this will never end.  We start to believe that we are stuck forever in whatever mess we find ourselves.  Well, that is just so much bollocks.

The seasons come and the seasons go.  The season you are in now will pass.  The time you are going through at the moment had a starting point.  It has a time now where it tries to affect you, and it will also come to an end.  It is written that there is a season and a time for everything under heaven.  Penned originally by King Solomon way back in the day, and set to music by Pete Seeger in the late ’50s and later by The Byrds in 1965, the words are as true today as they were then.

(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8Lyrics)

3.  Say “thank you”

… for the small things.  These words were given to me after a time of prayer.  I’d suddenly been given some bad news last December which I really didn’t need.  Since I was near some fellow Christ followers at the time, I figured I’d put one of them to good use and get him to pray with me.

As we finished praying, he shared that in his heart he felt that I should be saying “thank you” for the small things.  I was focusing on, and worrying about, the big things.  They were consuming me and if I am honest, they occasionally still do.  My friend was thinking about this bit from Luke’s book.

‘Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.’

 Luke 16:10

The advice here, was that I should be saying “thank you” for the small things.  The things I have already and which I am taking for granted.  In saying “thank you” for these, I start to pay attention to the good things I have been given.  This is good psychology too.  By changing my focus, looking for and focussing on the small good things, I start to see much to be thankful for.

The final encouragement my friend gave me was that I as I start to thank God for these small things, He would take care of and provide for the big things.  Maybe that could become true for you as well?

4.  Say “thank you”

… for the beauty around me.  Similar to #3, if I focus on what is bringing me down, I miss what might be trying to lift me up.  When I am walking around staring at my shoes, I will not see the trees and the sky.  If my gaze is downcast, how will I see the smiles from those around me?

It might be just the way I am, but for as long as I remember, the most positive my state of mind seems to get is “realistic”.  This is the pessimist’s way of pretending he’s not a pessimist.  This unfortunately does mean that on any given day, my mood can, at the best be “neutral”.  By searching for the beauty in world I have to lift my gaze from my feet.  My feet will still be there, and they will quite happily carry me forward through life without my checking in on them all the time.

If my thoughts and my inner world are focussed on the troubles I am facing, then that is all I will see.  Happier people, I guess, will fill their inner world with the good things they see.  I am out of the habit of doing this, so I need to make a special effort to look for the good in the world.


5.  Say “thank you”

… that your glass is overflowing.  Actually, at the moment it may not feel like it at all, but let’s pretend that it is.  Kind David wrote a really good poem from which this line comes.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23

A final video clip which popped into my mind as I started putting this post together.

(Melody: Chaplin, 1936.  Lyrics: Nat King Cole, 1954.)

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