Eeyore’s classic response came to mind. I was surprised by the grateful “Thank you!” It was my turn to do the dishes, since my spouse had cooked dinner. Why thank someone for doing their job? But it was nice to be noticed, and the gratitude made cleanup easier.
There is so much work to be done. It is easy focus on the tasks not yet completed. Taking no pleasure, giving no love for what is accomplished. To myself, or to those around me.
“It’s a thankless job, but somebody’s gotta do it.” That’s what I remembered. Eeyore got no gratitude for finding a new house for Owl. But the idea of a “thankless job” reminds us of the need to be thankful- not just to God, but to others for their labor.
Gratitude journals are legitimately popular, seeing the beauty of nature gets love on social media, and noticing the kindness of strangers is uplifting. But what about the people closest to us? Are the eyes of our hearts open to seeing their faithfulness, the jobs that they accomplish, the little and large things that weave the fabric of our lives?
Jesus notices. Of course, the paralyzed man being lowered through the roof was hard to miss. But Jesus saw the faith of the friends- and their labor and persistence. (Luke 5) Do I have four friends who would go to such lengths to procure my healing? “Yes,” I answer gratefully. How many little things must these guys have done for their friend, on a daily basis, before Jesus came to town?
And what about the sheep that wandered off? (Mt.18) It would seem difficult to realize one is missing from the crowd of ninety-nine. Do we notice the person standing alone at the holiday party, or blending quietly into the middle seats? When we realize that we haven’t seen so-and-so in awhile, do we drop them a line? Missing you! Hope all is well.
Loneliness is epidemic; holidays don’t make it easier. The people around us are working hard, trying to get by, to get it all done. Can we lighten their load, appreciate their efforts?
As I was going down the Eeyore trail, another quote seemed apt for Advent.
“Thanks for noticing me.”
We look for beauty. We draw strength from Yahweh’s presence, so that our hands can continue the work. And now, in these next two weeks, may we also notice those around us. Thank them for their work. Appreciate their presence. Go looking for someone we’ve been missing.
Eeyore turns 97 this Christmas; he was born in 1921 as a present to Christopher Robin. May our gifts to each other- of attention, time, and thoughtfulness- also bring such joy.