Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Author Jon Harder, (Gnu Free Distribution License, and CC-BY 2.5 Unported)

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Author Jon Harder, (GNU Free Documentation License, and CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

“ ‘Thank you’ more complex than at first viewed when examined thoroughly through the lens of the human experience.”

– Marie Williams,

That statement about the phrase “thank you” has great significance.

Those of us deprived by childhood abuse of the basic necessities of love and nurture may well be deadened, emotionally.  The human connection that the words “thank you” signify may actually feel threatening to us.  Sadly, that connection has been foreign to us, outside our experience.

At a minimum, we are likely to doubt we have anything of worth to offer the world…anything to prompt thanks from others.

But deprivation heightens the capacity for gratitude.  Skip a single meal.  Sleep a single night on a park bench or huddle against the cold, under a makeshift cardboard shelter.  Then go home again to a full plate and a warm bed, a solid roof over your head.  See whether your perspective has not changed.

The smallest kindness is magnified a thousand times over for abuse victims.  A word or gesture of concern feels like rain on the desert to us.  A thoughtful act can sometimes save a life.

As victims (who, incidentally, make up a large percentage of the homeless), we may not be able to express our thanks, not adequately.  But we will treasure that simple phrase or gesture as if it were precious gold.

To us, it is.  The words “thank you” acknowledge that we have been seen, that we exist.  They imply, above all, that we are human and worthy of acknowledgment.  That is healing balm to our wounds, even if we cannot vocalize a response.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever” (1 Chron. 16: 34).

Wishing you all a Happy Turkey Day!




Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Community, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Poverty, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Violence Against Women

14 responses to “Gratitude

  1. Wow!! Fabulous post! I could not have put this better if I tried. It is exactly as you say. And of course, you speak from experience, so that makes it even more relevant and poignant. You are not a psychologist writing some self-help narrative, without a clue to what victims/survivors experience. I hasten to add that not all psychologists have no experience of abuse – that is simply not a fact. My point is that you “know” that place, so you “know” what you are talking about, Anna.

    God is surely at work here. XxX

    • Thank you so much, Marie. You are a blessing in my life. I am always astonished how God can use our most painful experiences to a good purpose. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Cor. 1: 3-4). Surely, good is stronger than evil, and love stronger than hate.

      • In these days of brokenness and impending doom and gloom, tragic stories on the media each minute of the day, it is easy to think that the opposite were true regarding your closing line.
        Your quotation from scripture, is a prominent and timely reminder that good is stronger than evil, and love stronger than hate. We (humanity) in our frailty must cling to this hope for it is our salvation.

  2. Great Post.. A little love goes a long way..

  3. Thank you for this.

    I really liked what you said about “A thoughtful act can sometimes save a life.” because that’s so true. We never know when our actions make a huge difference on people.. so we should always do what we can to help others…

    • I totally agree. And the good we do returns to us. Abuse victims can often be discouraged by the scars of abuse. Health issues related to the abuse (depression/anxiety, PTSD, and the rest) may restrict our activities. But we can and do touch other’s lives. There is great meaning in that.

  4. Anna, it seems only natural that at Thanksgiving time we,saints and sinners alike, are more prone to give thanks for our many blessings.

    And while some may suggest that this giving of Thanks comes across as somewhat superficial,I for one am appreciative of any who stop for a moment to thank the One who provides.

    On that note,I wish to offer a humble”thank you” to an incredible Christian friend who though I have never met face to face,has permitted myself along with the entire world a glimpse into her life.

    Anna,until we get home you will never know the multitudes that your story has touched. I dare say that on that day there will be many who will come forward and say that because you were willing to allow God to take what the devil intended to destroy you with and turn it into a lifeline for others,they too made it home.

    You are more than worthy of acknowledgment my friend.

    • I cannot tell you how much that means to me, Ron. You bring tears to my eyes. You are a wonderful friend, an inspiration to my faith, and a great encouragement. I am sure others feel the same. So thank you, in turn, my friend.

      • I think there will be very few people who read this who will not be tearful. I will definitely be one of those people coming forward. May I add my “thanks” too at this time of Thanksgiving especially. xxx

  5. Beautifully written, thank you so much for sharing
    I enjoy it and it’s true that a little love goes a long way
    have a very nice end of week dear

  6. Great post. Wise and accurate thoughts, dear Anna. “Grateful” for this reading 😉Wishing you a beautiful week 🌞

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.