An Attitude of Gratitude

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If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. Meister Eckhart

I went to a wedding not so long ago and when the thank you note for the gift arrived, it was a picture of the bride and groom holding a sign that said “thank you.” It was nice but there was no personalization, no signature, just the picture. My heart sank a bit as I thought this was yet another symptom of our too busy lives. Were thank you notes becoming a thing of the past?

So it gave my heart a lift when my husband shared this story with me recently. He said, “There are days when it is terrible to be a nurse in the ER. We see some of the same people over and over again, who do nothing different for their own conditions, and yet they expect us to fix it immediately. I get tired and worn out and wonder for what purpose I am here.”

On one particular day Jim headed back to his station and there was a clasp envelope laying on his desk. When he opened it, there were three thank you notes inside. They were from the children of a woman he worked with; they had all come to Jim’s Honey Party and had participated in spinning the combs and witnessing the delicious, sticky honey that had come from that experience.

The notes expressed gratitude and warmed my husband’s heart. He told me, “It was a great moment to realize that I had made a difference in someone’s life.” I am guessing those little notes restored Jim’s faith in himself and the reason he is here on earth.

I have several boxes of pretty thank you cards and I try and remember to thank people who have given me a gift. But I also try and send a thank you for no reason other than to acknowledge someone else’s loving act of kindness. Recently, my aunt and uncle took me to Chicago for a wedding. They came to my doorstep and picked me up. We spent the entire, wonderful weekend together. Afterwards I wrote them a thank you note because not only did I have an amazing time, but I got to know their teen grandchildren a whole lot better and realized what totally beautiful kids they are.

A few years ago when I was beginning my spiritual journey, I decided to keep a gratitude journal. I wrote a few things down each night I was grateful for. It could be something that happened that day, or a quality I had come to recognize in myself or others. After pages and pages of gratitude, a shift in my thinking occurred. I realized the gift of every day life.

I save most all of the thank you notes I receive. There is a shoe box in my closet where I have amassed a collection of notes I’ve received over the years. There are hallmark cards, handwritten notes, some large and some small, but that box serves a purpose. Whenever I am feeling down, I reach for it. I pull out the cards and read them one by one. By the time I am done, my faith in myself is restored.

*The thank you note on the window sill says, “Thank you for giving my shoes back. I liked playing with Jake. A bee is flying.” (sweet!)

Have you ever received a thank you note that you just never forgot? Tell me about it!

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14 thoughts on “An Attitude of Gratitude

  1. Gallivanta

    I love thank you notes too. I am guilty of not writing as many as I used to but I try to remember to make a thank you phone call, at least. Meister Eckhart’s words are some of the finest I know. So thank you for your sweet post Katherine’s Daughter 🙂

    Reply
  2. cjvennare

    I received a lovely handwritten note from the staff of Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council a few weeks back (with a beautiful handmade coffee mug, biscotti and espresso coffee!) for my help with the recent Americans for the Arts Convention. The card was signed by everyone…and is now under the glass of my computer table. I look at it and smile every day…particularly when I read: “Cally, you are a rock star!” 🙂

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  3. Cathy McElhaney

    I have recently received 2 thank you cards for wedding gifts, that mean a lot to me. I also have a special one from the first child I mentored at 1 of the elementary schools my boys went to. She said “Thank you for helping me learn to read. I love reading now!”. It brings back memories of watching her struggle to read a few words and then her excitement when she would tell me about taking another AR test and passing! All she needed was a little encouragement.

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    1. Katherine's Daughter

      I love notes from small children. I saved many of my own children’s notes to me and I treasure them.
      I am so glad you received hand written thank you’s for the wedding gifts you gave. Thank goodness!
      Blessings, Joanne

      Reply
  4. Myla

    What a wonderful experience for your husband! I also keep thank you notes and letters for the same reason. One of the most meaningful came from a student I have worked with over the years. When she was in second grade, she and I ‘butted heads’ quite frequently. This year she graduated from 5th grade and made a thank you picture and note that said, ‘Thank you for not giving up on me and teaching me how to read and write.’ I look at it every time I need to remember why I do what I do.

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  5. Sunday's Child (trying to be full of grace).

    Hello, I really fell head over heels in love with your thoughts today. I too, have a box that I save all my received thank you notes! I re-read them now and then. Sure lifts ones spirits. (I knew I loved how your brain worked!)
    I am grateful and thankful that you are in my life. You make it a more jazzy circle.
    My I gently suggest the book, “365 Thank Yous” by John Kralik…….I think you will love every single page.
    Hugs from the left coast. Daleen

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  6. cindy

    How sweet!! Kids have such an amazing way of making us feel so appreciated & special.I am sure his mom also appreciated that her son had such a wonderful experience. My husband ,Jim, taught 8th grade his entire teaching cateer. After he was retired 5 or so years, he received a thank you note written in crayon from a former student who was then in college. She just wanted to thank him for being such a positive in her life as she was doing so well in college. I framed it for him & he keeps it on his desk. This unexpected thank you has been as positive for him as he was for her when she was just a 14 year old girl in 8th grade. I guess you never know when someoe will suddenly appreciate the difference you may have made in their life.

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  7. Professions for PEACE

    Thank you for this very touching post… from the lovely photo (I adore that card) to the opening quote (a favorite of mine) this article has really warmed my heart. The ‘modern’ yet rather impersonal ‘thank you’ you received reminded me of how my heart sinks when my sister-in-law ‘replies’ to my email-letters with Forwards of nice emails (but no word from her?). How I long for a personal note. And in the mail even more so. When I imagine your shoebox of notes and the gentle healing power they hold, it makes me want to mail off even more thank you notes. And to remember to put the extra effort in to do it by ‘snail mail’ so my recipient can hold it and keep it. Tangible gratitude. What a wonderful gift of kindness to share in the world. Thanks again Joanne. This is such a delightful article to help start my early Sunday on a wonderful note (pun intended 😉 ). Hugs of gratitude, Gina xo

    Reply
    1. Katherine's Daughter

      Hello Gina! So nice to hear from you and I am glad my post touched a note for you. Your blog always warms my heart and never fails to lift me. I hope you start a shoebox of notes and keep them for a rainy day.
      Blessings! Joanne xo

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