In a more recent episode of "Mad Men," Betty Draper pauses before carving into her Weight Watchers Thanksgiving dinner. Her son reminds her to say what she is thankful for. She says, "I'm thankful that I have everything I want...and that no one else has anything better."
It's a reflection of her character, a grown-up princess, and perhaps of America at the time. It is not enough to be grateful just for what we have, but the benchmark of gratitude is drawn in comparison to what others have. At least what we know that they have.
True, in the mid-1960s there aren't Facebook albums humblebragging about homeplate seats or wide acreage for us to be sure that our possessions are superior to that of others. But based on the propaganda of prosperity, perhaps Betty Draper had reason to believe she had not only what she wanted, but what everyone else wanted, too.
The last two nights I've fallen asleep tired. We'd had visitors for a week and I was exhausted. But last night was different. I fell asleep tired from such a wonderful day, just hanging with my family and enjoying what felt like the first true day of summer. Summer, what a great idea. As all the best fruits ripen in the garden, the fruits of our labors during the rest of the year become ready for harvest, and we are given a season to be a little more leisurely, to flip-flop a little more freely through the stacks of books and projects that lay dormant under the frost of winter.
I found myself smiling just as I fell asleep. For the first time in a long time, I didn't have to check myself. I didn't have to remind myself to just be grateful, or to stop coveting the time with children or time without children, or the yoga classes or the cute yoga figure that the gal to my right has.
Unqualified gratitude is sincere gratitude. Thankfulness just because I know I *should* be thankful does not make a beautiful character. Thankfulness in light of what others do or don't have is not even touching the real issues in my heart. Cultivating thankfulness is daily work for me. Even though I know I am living far better than a huge swell of the world's population is living. My heart wants to know who's got it better. Easier. Safer. Prettier. Thinner. Smarter. Richer. Better.
Even though my greed heart and my thankful heart beat with one rhythm, I can tell you they are both trying to beat louder than the other. Type Greed blood must be thinner than Type Thanks blood because when it's easier for my heart to pump it. I get so irritated when the kids complain about the wrong flavor popsicle--but I am no better, just letting my greed heart pump its toxins all through my system.
I am thankful in my life right now for a million blessings. Each one little in light of my thanks for Jesus, each one big in its job of building up my thankful heart.