Lenten discipline of the day:
Expressing gratitude is something most of us were taught to do as children (“Write your grandmother a thank you note!! Say please and thank you!!”), but we so easily forget to do as adults. When we are in a hurry, when we are distracted, when we are centered on ourselves and our worries, it is easy to overlook the people closest to us and the many ways they make our lives rich and full. Yet we know how powerful a simple “thank you” can be because gratitude is something we crave for ourselves. Receiving gratitude is how we know that we matter, and that we’ve made a difference.
I have a former boss who gave me a job in advertising when I was inexperienced young woman right out of school. He trusted me with increasing responsibility and encouraged me even when I messed up badly. He was both a mentor and a friend, and as I look back on my life, I have realized I’d probably be a very different person if I had not met him. A couple years ago, I had lunch with him and told him how much I appreciated the difference he made for me, and how formative he was in my life. I realized that he had even played a role in my decision to enter ministry! It was a conversation that mattered to both us.
When Fred Rogers was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Emmy in 1997, he brought a Hollywood audience to tears by asking them to think about and remember the people who had “loved them into being.” Can you think of someone like that in your life? When was the last time you simply said, “Thank you,” to someone who has made all the difference to you?