From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, November 24, 2016
The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon does a weekly segment where he pretends to catch up on some personal items – like his thank-you notes. This hilarious skit is usually perfectly timed to piano music played by the stoic, James Poyser. Fallon writes out what seems to be heartfelt thank-you notes to people and things, and is often political or pop culture in nature. A silly example of his notes, are to “hard taco shells, for surviving the long journey from the factory, to supermarket, to my plate, and then breaking the moment I put something inside you. Thank you”. And “thank you, thanksgiving football, for giving me a chance to eat too much then pretend to work it off by watching other people exercise.”
One of my close friends and pastors, Tracey Bianchi, recently preached a sermon at my church about gratitude. She asked, “if we were to write a thank you note to God, what would it say?” Would we thank him for the parking spot, or that it’s not raining, or for the Cubs finally winning the World Series? Maybe we would thank him for our job or for the people in our lives who love us.
She explained that most words of thanks have a truncated ending, and gratitude usually stops after the words leave our mouths – and that thanks should not just be a quick word of gratitude but should overflow every day from within us by our service to others, and should change everything we touch. Lives lived with gratitude will actually be contagious, and have a healing effect on us and on others.
Not too long ago, my father-in-law and I took my boys to United Center to see a Bulls game. While walking around the statues of Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, and Michael Jordan, I read to them the inscribed accomplishments of the Bulls superstar. For a moment, they seemed to be impressed with the number of points Jordan amassed and the championships he won. But soon, they were bored and began to bicker and fight, as typical siblings would, almost as if they were looking for something more.
I was shocked that they weren’t appreciative of the special moments that we experiencing together. I was expecting excitement, reverence, and thankfulness, that their grampa and I shared this experience and special place with them.
As adults, we often lose our way and forget to have an attitude of thanks for all that we have been given. Like children, we get caught up wondering if we have enough, and we get bored and oftentimes believe we deserve to have more.
When you think about it, gratitude is the secret ingredient that helps us be more grounded and helps life to be more joy-filled. An attitude of gratitude makes us a remarkably different person than if we had an attitude of expectation.
American novelist Ann Lemont said, “Gratitude begins in our hearts and then dovetails into behavior. It almost always makes you willing to be of service, which is where the joy resides. It means you are willing to stop being such a jerk. When you are aware of all that has been given to you, in your lifetime and in the past few days, it is hard not to be humbled, and pleased to give back.”
If you were writing a thank you note today, what would you say?
Mike is a Clarendon Hills
resident; husband; Indian Princess; Indian Guide Dad; a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker. Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around the area. It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlights a new business, or announces school happenings. He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting residents and even a little about history
. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”.