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.