The Thank You Note That Could Change a Life
By: Kayla Faherty
Who has helped you become the woman you are today? Each of us has been touched by the lives of others, sometimes in grand ways but oftentimes in not-so-grand ways. But when we stop to think about it, those not-so-grand ways help us on our journeys either to help guide us on our path or provide an opportunity for a turning point. In taking some time to reflect on my life’s journey so far, I have come to recognize and appreciate the role others have had in my growth as a daughter of God.
So I started writing simple thank you notes. Nothing fancy or elaborate. Some are handwritten cards or letters; others are emails, texts, or messages. My purpose has been to take a moment to thank someone for something they have done for me that really helped me to become who I am today. So far I have thanked family members, friends, school teachers, college professors, and other acquaintances. I created a list of people I am thankful for, and I am checking it off. The funny thing is the list keeps on growing.
Cultivating a heart of gratitude is something we can all work on. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Saint Paul encourages us: “In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” The thing about being thankful in all circumstances is that once you begin to enter that new perspective, you will want to share it with others. When we read the Pauline letters it is easy to notice that he writes with an attitude of thankfulness, as evidenced in Philippians 1:3-4 “I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you, praying always with joy in my every prayer for all of you.” St. Paul was thankful for the people who touched his life, and shared his gratitude with him. We would do well to follow his example.
Take a moment to think about how many times God has blessed you through other people. Perhaps it was a kind word at the right time. Perhaps someone went out of their way to help you during a time of need. Maybe they showed love when you most needed it. Maybe they forgave you when you least deserved it. Perhaps they showed you how to live a virtuous life. Perhaps they taught you important truths. Maybe they helped develop your skills and talents. Maybe they inspired you to become a little better than you were yesterday. There are so many ways we help each other. Love comes from God. Take a moment to thank God for the love that He expressed to you through the words and actions of others. And the next natural step is to take a moment to thank those people for their role in your life.
Sometimes we need to let go of our pride in order to be thankful. Admitting that you cannot do this alone, that you need other people to help you can be difficult. Sometimes we need to let go of our need for approval in order to be thankful. You might be worried that someone might think it is silly to write a thank you note for something that happened twenty years ago. And sometimes we need to let go of our laziness in order to be thankful. You might tell yourself you’ll get around to thanking them one day, but that day hasn’t come yet. There are many stumbling blocks to sharing our appreciation. Take a step in love and you will step right over them.
The first question is who do you need to thank? Is it your Aunt who made you feel special? Is it your second grade teacher who made school fun? Is it your friend who makes you laugh? Is it your high school teacher who encouraged you to pursue your passion? Is it your husband who supports you? Is it your college professor who helped you refine your skills? Is it your pastor who encourages you in your faith? Is it your daughter who refreshes your imagination? Take five minutes and thank them. Let them know that they made a difference in your life. Tell them how much you appreciate them.
The second question is whose life could change as a result of your thank you note? That’s easy: yours.