Thanks For Nothing

Thanks For Nothing

Reflections from an Honor Fight, April 26, 2014

“Thanks for nothing” is a satirical response we often hear from a recipient of a critical word or deed from a well-meaning friend. How different from a “thanks” for something when the gift of gratitude is expressed by one who sincerely cares for what  you say or have done.

While experiencing this later “thanks for your service to our country,” it gave me pause  to question if the giver had a full understanding of what he/she was thanking me for.

This is not to demean the generic “thank you” for an all encompassing, far away, long ago event. Each such expression was an emotional jolt to my memory of my military service. Yet it caused me to wonder if a young mother (who was not even born before the war) fully understood what she was thanking me for. She had no way of knowing of my reluctance and involuntary response to “Uncle Sam Needs You” right now in school midterm, but her thanks covered that.

The young uniformed Marine greeted me with gratitude for my service. Was he thanking me for three years of disciplined boredom interrupted with brief enemy confrontations. To all those total strangers who expressed appreciation with handshakes and embraces saying “thanks for your service,”  I wished I could express how much it meant to me to be remembered. But I had neither time nor words to express to them what it was for which they were thanking me. To me it was thanks for three years of lonesome walks taken between K-rations and mosquito nets on the beautiful white beaches which defined the boundary of the ocean separating me from where I really wanted to be. 

More could be said about my reflections and my deep emotional response to all who participated in my behalf to communicate an appreciation for my service. But l close with two conclusions which this rich experience has given me.

First, I will not always know all the minute and finite details of the past and present sufferings in my behalf by my Savior.  But when I say “thank you, Lord”, to the extent of my ability I need to name and enumerate and confess the exactness of my causes for His suffering. It will please Him and comfort me to be thoroughly honest and contrite.

Secondly, I want to think that, similar to my emotional response to those who expressed gratitude to me for my service, the Lord rejoices when I acknowledge His wonderful gifts of grace to me.

“Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless His holy name.”

 Bud Anderson, Hope Member