Thank you

Both Grace and Whit recite the standard “now I lay me down to sleep …” prayer before bed.  They usually add on some sentences which always, without exception, are a litany of “thank you”s.  I have not coached them here.  After all, as I’ve shared, Grace and Whit are the people who taught me that praying is saying thank you.

Last week I tucked Whit in and in the nightlight dim I asked him if he wanted to say his prayers.  He looked up at me, clutching Beloved Monkey, and nodded.  I looked at him expectantly.

“Thank you,” he said.

“Prayers, Whit?” I prodded in a whisper.

“Thank you.  Just, thank you.”  I smiled at him and felt my eyes fill with tears.

Meister Eckhart, of course, famously said it best: If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is “thank you,” that would suffice.”

And “thank you” were my grandfather’s last words to my grandmother, as she died, in 1997.  My family, those who came before and those who come after, two men who will never know each other yet are bound by shared bloodlines, both coming to the same conclusion.  I left Whit’s room and sat at my desk and cried and cried.  How can you be sorrowful and grateful at the same time?  I was.  In fact, I often am.

Thank you.


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14 Comments

  1. Posted October 17, 2011 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    Oh the depths of Whit. Just glorious. Thank you for this beautiful, gratitude-filled start to my day.

    (PS: sometimes I find the best blog posts are written through curtains of tears. xoxoxo)

  2. Launa
    Posted October 17, 2011 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    “thank you” always comes at the end. After the struggle, the dashed hopes, the incredible surprises. It’s when we finally rest that we say thank you, and those tears are for the ending we find punctuating life.

    “Please” rarely comes with tears, (except of desperation I guess.)

    I love Whit.

  3. Posted October 17, 2011 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    I think I’ve said before that your posts on gratitude remind me of W.S. Merwin’s poem “Thanks.” “With the night falling we are saying thank you…” It is enough.

    Beautiful post. xo

  4. Posted October 17, 2011 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    So beautiful, Lindsey. Thank you.
    Perhaps you should pass out virtual Kleenex with some of your posts?
    As my son Max once said to me, “Sometimes when we’re happy, we cry so slow…”
    Much love to you.

  5. Posted October 17, 2011 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Your post showed up right after Denise’s in my reader and having the chance to read them back to back overwhelms me with gratitude for the opportunity we have to parent our children. To borrow Whit’s wise words: thank you.

  6. Posted October 17, 2011 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    This is lovely, truly.

    And I am teary, inexplicably.

    Thank you. 🙂

  7. Posted October 17, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    So beautiful. Thank you, Lindsey.

  8. Posted October 17, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Deeply beautiful. Thank YOU.

  9. Posted October 17, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    It’s often the main thing I feel like saying to someone I love on their birthday. And spontaneously years ago when I began flying more often I began saying thank you’s on my way up into the sky. Thank you earth, sun, moon, stars, and then running through my loves…

    Thank you, just thank you. No one brings us home quite like a child.

  10. Posted October 17, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Two simple words which stir so much up in our hearts…

    Thank you.

  11. Posted October 17, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Sweet, sweet boy. Give him an extra hug tonight from a lady in Texas he doesn’t know (but don’t tell him that).

  12. Posted October 17, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    A big thank you to Whit. And to you for sharing this. What a brave boy you have.

  13. Posted October 17, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s when opposing emotions meet that you taste the ever so gentle kiss of bliss.

  14. Posted October 18, 2011 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Lindsey, I did a meditation a few times on what if I had X amount of time left — what would i do/say? You keep decreasing the increments of time until you have maybe just a breath. And the words that continue to emerge for me as what i hope my final words will be are “thank you.” and even if i can’t SAY it i hope my eyes convey it — even if no one else is around and i am alone. i will say “thank you” to the world.

    what a lovely way for your grandfather and son to be connected. and so lovely of you to point this out.