The black-eyed susans belonged on my table smiling beside the crystal-vase roses. They matched the sweetness of anniversaries, the copper lights that turned on, the clarity in writing.
Then one morning all my flowers were dead.
The roses were stinking in moldy water. The susans were hunched and catatonic. We were fighting about dishwasher walls and sentences, but really whether the other was stupid or cared.
“I’ve been practicing thankfulness, God. Why is my world withering?”
“When was the last thing you thanked me for?”
“I journal thanksgiving daily.”
“No, the last thing you thanked me for, when did it happen?”
“Oh, well Matt bought me roses a week ago.”
“Then your thankfulness is a week without food.”
The day I pick flowers, is the day they start starving. Their cheer withers with the memory of Matt’s sweet gesture.
I guess my thanksgiving wears off like my last meal.
A couple hours later my rumbling stomach warns of shaking and headaches. I need a snack to stave off hanger.
“Mary, yesterday’s thankfulness is yesterday’s food.”
So what am I thankful for in the last twenty-four hours? I hold my pen and journal. Suddenly the big gifts are off the list. What am I thankful for in the monotony of going to work and going to bed?
Matt woke up to pray with me while I cried before work. He told me not to make him lunch, so I could stay a little longer. Greasy quesadillas with a friend made the perfect lunch. A bonfire and chats about God’s presence in struggle ended the day.
I need thankfulness to keep me full, especially in the days I cry. I eat every few hours. Of course a morning thankful list already has me hangry by the time Matt hugs me at the end of the day.
“God, help me to be more religious about thanking you than I am about snacking.”