My grandma was amazing at giving cards and thoughtful little gifts for every occasion. She was always thinking ahead and was prepared with her stash of cute boxes and collection of meaningful cards. Looking back, I’m not sure how she kept up with everyone, but she did. (I struggle just getting a random birthday card out on time.) But she made it her life’s work to care for people. To celebrate, sympathize, encourage, and thank others. Her feelings and appreciations were always expressed.
Not only did she generate love by giving, she perpetuated it by the way she received it. I can’t count the times, she lavished me with hugs and kisses, because I gave her a handmade gift or a picture I colored at school. She would lovingly hang my work all throughout her house. When I was a kid I loved giving to her, because she always received my gifts with so much enthusiasm. Her gratefulness filled my heart, and made me want to give more.
My grandma had been a widow for many years and had a humorous habit of talking to herself. Every once in a while I would eavesdrop and get a glimpse into the thoughts going on under that perfectly permed grey hair. I was a little older and getting more aware of the fact that adults had feelings. And this particular conversation made me perk my ears and tune in. She had sent someone a very thoughtful and sacrificial gift weeks prior and hadn’t heard any response. No quick phone call, no small thank you, no acknowledgment that they had even received it. Confusion. Disappointment. Sadness. Someone had dropped the ball.
In that moment I purposed in my heart to always tell her thank you. She had never asked me too, but
I saw that it was a mutual expression of love. Kinda like saying I love you and hearing it back.
The unspoken words were: thankfulness pauses to take note of the giver. To ponder why they gave what they gave. To savor the emotion and thoughtfulness they were expressing.
To ignore their gesture of kindness would be hurtful. Rather, return one’s kindness with expressions of gratitude and love, and everyone wins.
In our fast-paced society we hardly have time for handwritten sentiments. (Though, I can’t help but think that this is one of those old-fashioned things that are worth holding onto.) We can still take time to be thankful. Send a sweet Facebook message, or a text. Write a note, make a phone call, give a hug, or if all else fails, return their kindness with a genuine smile and the words thank you.
How do you like to say thank you?