I Thank God for Those People Who Do Well What I Can’t Do at All

Today I’d like to thank God for those individuals who do well what I can’t (or don’t) do at all. Here are a few of them (in no particular order):

Hair stylists: My stylist cuts, snips, combs, brushes, and blow dries my hair—all the while carrying on an interesting hair stylistconversation with me. I marvel at her work because she has to consider so many variables: hair texture, hair volume, hair color, cowlicks, scalp health, head shape, ear placement, forehead height, and (most importantly) client personal preferences.

Parents: I am in awe when I see parents parenting well–whether their kids are teeny weeny and have to have their noses wiped (and other places wiped too!), or whether their kids are teenagers and are going through all kinds of hormonal changes that would challenge the patience of Jesus himself, or whether their children are grown and making choices they can’t quite understand.

Computer people. Ordinarily when we interact with these people we are in a total state of panic, because the stupid computer isn’t working anymore and we don’t know why. Nor do we have the slightest clue as to what to do about it. Computer people listen to us rant and rave and even utter profanities about our computer in particular and technology in general. Then they calmly ask a few questions, sit down (or they can even do this from 100 miles away, for heaven’s sake!), peck a few keys, point the arrow hither and yon so fast it’s a blur, and presto: the computer works again! And all we can do is thank them profusely as if they have just pulled us out of a raging river—which is a good image for what they do.

Engineers. All of them! From those who build skyscrapers and bridges to those who design and make car blinkers and coffee pots.  

Every time you drive over a bridge, thank an engineer.

Every time you drive over a bridge, thank an engineer.

Airplane pilot. They whiz us up to 35,000 feet in the blink of an eye where we ordinarily coast along sipping a free beverage (if we’re lucky) or staring out the window or taking a nap. Then they gradually bring us back down again and land us on this match-stick of a runway—with only a slight bump. It’s the bringing us back down ALIVE that I REALLY admire!

Good spouses. I greatly admire couples who have been married for 2 or 10 or 25 or 40 or 50 or more years, and who are somehow still in love with each other despite all the ups and downs and ins and outs of modern life. All I can say is: Wow!

Kindergarten teachers. Although I’m a teacher, I never had the little kids–those whokindergarten teacher come to school just recently potty trained (so sometimes they understandably have little “accidents” in this regard). Those who have to be taught EVERYTHING–how to sit in a desk, raise your hand, use a pencil, print your name, stand in line, eat your lunch at a big table with other kids, play NICELY on the playground, take a nap on a mat, and go to the bathroom at designated times on toilets different from the one at home.

Police officers, fire fighters, military personnel. What more need I say?

Repairers of water main breaks. Frigid weather here has caused a slew of water main breaks throughout this area. When I see these guys on the TV news (There are probably a few gals among them, but it’s hard to tell because of all the clothes they have to wear!), in that freezing weather, with water gushing all over the place, and ice forming everywhere, I think (as I sit in my warm dry living room, in my warm dry chair, under my warm dry afghan): I hope these guys (and gals) get paid a humongous amount of money for what they do!

Priests. At the height of the pedophile scandal a few years back, this profession took a massive hit. Many people looked at all priests with suspicion or even disdain. I sometimes wondered how priests mustered up the courage to don their Roman collars in public. But I personally know a lot of great priests. I hope you do too. And I know most of them do incredible work that will never be seen let alone appreciated. Case in point: The other Saturday a panic stricken man appeared on our side porch saying earnestly, “I need to talk to a priest.” I directed him to the rectory across the street and then said a little prayer for him—and for the priest.

Cake decorators: I know their work isn’t essential to human life, but their incredible artistry really enhances all those special occasions we humans like to celebrate—birthdays, weddings, First Communions, graduations, anniversaries, and so on.

That’s my list. Now I have three questions for you:

Would anyone on MY list be on YOUR list?

Are YOU on my list?

What other people not mentioned here would be on YOUR list of people to thank God for?

PS: I just learned that Fleuroselect (the international organization for the ornamental plant industry) and the Home Garden Association have declared 2015 the year of the sunflower! (I was alerted to this declaration by Gail, one of my alert readers!)


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  1. Kathleen Magiera on February 2, 2015 at 5:34 am

    Sr. Melannie,

    Good one for a Monday morning. I agree with all your essential personnel especially Kindergarten teachers.

    I would add special education teachers to the list. Although I am a special education teacher by training, as a teacher educator I would add these brave souls.


  2. Michelle Authier on February 2, 2015 at 6:51 am

    Thanks for cooks,launderers, maintenance staff, plow truckers, medical personel, farmers, fuel dellivery truckers, etc…:-) Michelle

  3. Nancy Frederico on February 2, 2015 at 7:50 am

    This is great! I agree with all your essential personnel as well. Have to add Gas companies, plumbers and HVAC technicians. With wrenches in hand, they are restorers of energy and comfort.

    Help all to stay warm during the hours of this week.

  4. Susan on February 2, 2015 at 8:06 am

    Fiancial Planners. My husband is one and he is very good at what he does. He really listens to his clients needs and helps them reach their retirement goals. Something that many are not able to achieve during our tough economic times.

  5. mary james on February 2, 2015 at 8:16 am

    I would have everything on that list, plus those who write well–
    novels, spiritual books, reflections, etc. that help me grow! Thanks Melannie!

  6. michelle c. on February 2, 2015 at 9:18 am

    Today it would be the weather people. Who bring us good and bad weather. The snow plow drivers who are so essential on this snowy day.

  7. Georgia Auckly on February 2, 2015 at 9:23 am

    All skilled workers such as carpenters, electricians, plumbers, pest control workers, farmers, mail carriers, truckers, caregivers, all healthcare personnel, and people who make us smile and laugh, comedians!

  8. Carolyn Shalhoub on February 2, 2015 at 9:25 am

    All those plus house cleaners, who restore order and sparkle, hospice staff, jail ministers, college teachers, who care so much for their shiny bright young adults, or not so young, plumbers, like the one who took care of the rushing water noise that suddenly appeared in the night, funeral directors, who deal with complex family situations and the grieving, religious sisters, who have done the work of the church, without fanfare or credit for centuries.

  9. Ann on February 2, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Melannie today’s “Seed” reminded me of this quote of Sarah Ban Breathnach which I try to remember to do daily.
    “You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.”
    The abundance in my life overwhelms me as I don’t know where to start to say thank you.

  10. Pat on February 2, 2015 at 9:59 am

    Thank you Melannie for making me more aware and thankful for our interdependence. I share you appreciation for the technology people,
    repair men and women, service personnel in stores, hotels, retirement homes and hospitals.
    They make our days so much more delightful
    Thanks to God

  11. Jean Shott on February 2, 2015 at 10:35 am

    I would add school bus drivers to your list, and child daycare providers. I loved taking care of the little ones while their parents were at work and I was lucky enough to be told often how appreciated I was so they could do their jobs without worrying about their children.

  12. Mary Schneider on February 2, 2015 at 10:42 am

    I give thanks for all women who dedicate their lives to God, and work in many different areas of our Church as well in our society. I also would add to the list, those elderly men and women who face death with dignity and have set a wonderful example of how to live our lives with complaint. Thank you, Sr Melannie.

  13. Diane on February 2, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Ditto to all the above and I never thought I’d say this in a million years, but thanks to the people involved (staff, players, and fans) who give us such enjoyment, excitement , and a spirit of comraderie in the sports fields such as football. From a proud Seattle Seahawks fan. And even though we lost the Super Bowl, there is an amazing spirit of love and friendship going on in the whole state!

  14. Suzanne Sayer on February 2, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Great reflection and wonderful responses! So many people to be thankful for. On freezing cold winter days and boiling hot summer days, I pray for those who work outside. School secretaries deserve to be on the list–they take the phone calls (and often anger) of parents who are upset. Bless you!

  15. Joy on February 2, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Postmen & women delivering our mail….
    Baggage handlers who are outside all year round getting our luggage
    on board the aircraft…God bless them all…

  16. Maggie Dunn on February 2, 2015 at 11:43 am

    And with all those mentioned above, I thank God for the really good listeners in my life who have listened and listened to me as I’ve endured so many trials in my recent years.
    God is so good as he gives us these wonderful “sharers” of so many skills!!

  17. Annie on February 2, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    YOU are on my list! I thank God for you!

  18. florence on February 2, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    I agree with all those mentioned and am so glad that you offered us this topic to reflect on. I am a retired sp ed teacher as is my daughter in law, her two daughters. One of those grand daughters in her third year of teaching is working with a seven year who has so many problems and most 0f the faculty have given up on him, not my grand daughter. She will do her best to help him as she has so much empathy for him.

  19. sr.jyosita snd, Arusha, tanzania on February 2, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    I admire people who can write about ordinary things in an extra ordinary way!!!

  20. Sr. Janet, SNDdeN on February 2, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    I laughed when I read Kindergarten teacher…it all sounded so familiar. Actually, I work with pre-K children and teach everything on that list of duties. I would add health care professionals especially. They do so much for so many of all ages.

  21. Tom on February 2, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    From one of those fellows who lived across the street from the convent: I have always admired my fellow priests and deacons who took delight in presiding over “society” weddings, even traveling out of state to honor the wishes of the bride and groom.

  22. Sr. Claire LeBoeuf, CSC on February 2, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Looking forward to your visit to Clearwater Saturday. Claire

  23. Jan Toler on February 2, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    Don’t forget auto mechanics and tow truck drivers! Where would we be without them? (In rumpled cars stuck in ditches, maybe.) Thanks for the thoughts Melannie. You are an inspiration!

  24. Kathleen on February 2, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    artists, musicians, entertainers, party planners, authors, poets, screenwriters…all talents I envy (I can plan a party!)

  25. Beverly on February 2, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    Nuns & priests-all their prayers & special guidance

  26. Debbie Schofield on February 3, 2015 at 9:22 am

    I would add inspirational writers! Thank you Sister Melannie!
    PS. I am a kindergarten teacher, retiring at the end of this school year after 28 wonderful years! Love how you summed that up – thanks for the plug!

  27. Diane Butler on February 3, 2015 at 10:16 am

    Well said love the hairdressers so often go unnoticed

  28. Michelle K. on February 3, 2015 at 11:17 am

    I’m one of the many kindergarten teachers who love their work and thrive on it. To me it seems just a natural extension of who I am. But in the last couple of years I’ve been thrown into the role of Youth Minister in my parish and that is a whole different ballgame. I admire all those who work in youth ministry…especially with teens! I have met so many other youth ministers who have given me so many good ideas and support in this endeavor. I think I would have given up it if wasn’t for these great people. I also would add nurses and health care aids to the list, and doctors as well. Oh yes, and babysitters…reliable babysitters…the ones your kids adore and you do not worry when you leave them with the sitter for a date night!

  29. Sr. Kathleen Tobin on February 3, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    I’d add all kinds of artists including those who paint, sketch, draw, speak and write, then there is the pope and others like him who know just what to say in a given situation. I think that the Holy Spirit has something to do with it.

  30. Mary Anne on February 4, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Thank you for reminding us to pray always for those who come into our lives with all their special talents. I am a professional organizer, specializing in de-cluttering homes. I love being able to help people, most of the time, get some semblance of their life back. To help get their home to a place they feel safe and happy in, makes me thank God everyday that I was able to find this talent, even late in my life.

  31. Kathy on February 6, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    Thank you again for a great pause in my day to reflect on thanking just about everyone! I specially also am thankful for my 4 adult children and the work they do – one is a reference librarian, my son works 3rd shift and outdoors all night (particularly hard right now in this more-than-cold weather, my daughter who will soon be doing missionary work, and my youngest who is in college, and working part-time, trying to figure out her life’s path.

  32. Kathy Evans on February 10, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    I have been thinking about this a lot. Now with the anniversary of my Dad’s death coming soon, I have to say that my Dad’s 24/7 caregiver was someone I would thank God daily for. Gabriel(such an appropriate name) made my Dad’s last year a very blessed vision to see. He tended Dad with such kindness, love, and especially laughter. Caregivers do jobs for us that we physically and sometimes emotionally would not be able to do. Our family will forever be grateful for Gabe and I hope all those in similar situations will remember to pray for these wonderful heroes.

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