The Weight Of Gratitude

I don’t like being thankful.

It makes me uncomfortable, because if I am thankful, that means that I have been given something, something that I didn’t earn, and that means that I’m in someone’s debt.

I’ve always been this way.  I can remember feeling sick as a child at birthdays and holidays because of the feeling of obligation, the need to acknowledge that I didn’t earn any of these things, that I didn’t deserve them, and that I could not repay the debt that kept mounting.

I had to be thankful and I had to express it, loudly and often, and God help me if I wasn’t thankful enough.  Saying “thank you” is for me a self-inflicted wound.  I might as well just say, “I’m worthless” and get it over with.

For what it’s worth, I do recognize this attitude as pathological.

I know in my head that people aren’t keeping score, and that even if they were I can stand an honest accounting–I give much and receive seldom.  My gut doesn’t accept that, though.  In my gut I have a horror of red ink, of being subject to debts that I did not ask for, can not refuse, and will never be able to repay.

In my heart I am a passionate Calvinist, desperately wicked and totally depraved, irredeemable and unworthy.  I am crushed by the weight of gratitude, buried in a pit of unearned favor and driven to kill myself trying to somehow earn enough to square my ledger, to beat the odds and die in the black.


About MishaBurnett

I am the author of "Catskinner's Book", a science fiction novel available on Amazon Kindle.
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6 Responses to The Weight Of Gratitude

  1. reikiheidi says:

    I know exactly what you mean! Why is it that we say ‘thank you’ to a bus driver, when they’re just doing their job?Or ‘sorry’ to someone who has bumped into us?? Honest thankfulness is fine… it’s when we say it automatically, without thought or feeling just out of obligation or politeness… it detracts from us, as a person, and from those times when it should be genuine. 🙂

  2. Abraham says:

    I really like the way you write.

  3. Melody Dickerson says:

    I’ve always had issues with simply accepting presents. People ask “What do you want for your birthday?” Or “Have you decided on Christmas?” I’m almost thankful that I don’t have to really worry about birthday or Christmas presents anymore, small Secret Santa gifts at work, a simple gift from the fiance’ at birthdays and holidays, easy things. Anything more, and I feel obligated to give MORE to the one gifting to me. Very unsettling.

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