I found this post from Ann at the Holy Experience blog to be quite moving and insightful. I’ll give you enough to get started, but be sure to visit her site to read the rest.
Thanksgiving Rightly Addressed
I see him through the kitchen window on Tuesday at twenty-three minutes past nine, later than usual. He’s clanging open the mailbox at the end of the lane, jarring off its blanket of snow. I watch.
But he’s paused. The naked branches of the sumac finger across the window, but if I arch on tiptoes – isn’t he laying envelopes, flyers into that steely cold dark?
He’s heading to the door.
The dog barks and the kids dash to greet mailman first and I run fingers through hair and the back doorbell chimes.
“Sorry, Mrs. Voskamp,” he’s reaching through a tribe of kids with a handful of mail. “But we didn’t see any address on this letter. Without an address, we can’t recognize it as post. It’s undeliverable.”
I take the offered stack, glance at envelope on top. A celebratory card I’d slipped in the mailbox to be sent to my grandmother stares blankly back at me.
I hadn’t written any address on it.
Winter gusts in and my cheeks ignite.
“Oh, I’m the one who’s sorry.” Why do I laugh with such a pitch when I’m on fire?
“If I’d written a recognizable address on it, it would have been a good idea, yes?”
A friendly nod and he’s gone back through the snow to his pick-up, the children calling, waving, bye after him, dog wagging tail, me just smoldering.
The envelope lies on the mudroom sideboard all day.
I walk by it several times.
I check it every time: No, I really didn’t address it.
The letter lies there undelivered. Like generic thanks, acknowledging no one in particular. Like generic, unaddressed thanks, returned to sender.
I pause once, finger its edge. Granny never received our heart on paper.
Yes, that too: if gratitude is sensed only as a global, vague feeling, addressed to no one in particular, it’s as good as not sent. Non-existent.
Ann has more to say here. It’ll be worth your time to read it.