Today I’ve been ruminating on gratitude, and how to express it properly. Methods of showing gratitude differ by culture, from simply smiling, to offering flowers or other tokens of appreciation, to reciprocating the original kindness with a gift of equal value. People send thank you cards, or take the time to write personal notes or emails. Sometimes, if the person who did you the original kindness is close enough, simply letting them know that you love them and appreciate them is most appropriate.
I struggle with saying “thank you”. I’m not really sure why, though I know that it has nothing to do with being thankless. In fact, sometimes it’s just being so stunned at the knowledge that someone has actually gone out of their way to be good to me. The shock makes me even more awkward than normal. In fact, that’s what happened the other day. Heather, a fellow member at Iron Tribe, asked me how long I had until I left for Spain. I was so shocked that anyone cared that for a second I forgot when I was leaving. I only stuttered for a second or two, but it seemed like an eternity until I finally spit out the date. Silly, I know – of course people care! – but that’s just what it’s like in this funny little brain of mine.
When it comes to the fundraiser that I’ve been doing to help afford go on pilgrimage, I’m still not sure that I’ve adequately conveyed the intense gratitude I’m feeling towards the 18 people who’ve donated to my dream. So I thought maybe I’d take a chance to say a little something nice about each of you here today. I know that some of you want to remain anonymous, and others might be weirded out by being mentioned in my blog, so I’m not going to name names. You’ll know who you are. Just know that you’re loved.
- You’re an amazing artist, and it’s been such a pleasure watching your life and career blossom over the years since we first met. It’s always great to run into you in Chicago, but I wish I got to see more of you. The #1 thing I dig about you: your laugh! I can hear it right now.
- I don’t know you very well, but your FB comments are always insightful. It blew my mind (in a good way) when you donated. It was not only very kind of you, but I think it says something really important about the goodness at your core to be supportive of someone you barely know’s dream.
- You’re like family to me, and have been since we first met back in college. You always had the coolest stories (I often think about unfortunate, kinda hilarious consequences of that homemade gun), and by far the best advice that I’ve ever gotten. Thank you for believing in me, then and now. You improved my trajectory.
- It’s funny having a pen pal in this day and age, but I think we’ve done pretty well at it. I’m really glad that we’re friends, despite the miles and the language barriers (who would have known that English could be SO different on that side of the pond?). It’s been lovely getting to skip the bullshit and getting to know each other’s weird quirks. Also, you’re crazy to donate so much but I REALLY appreciate it. Thank you again. I’ll write back soon – got a weird story for you.
- I knew that we would be friends when it came to light that both of us liked seeing movie matinees, alone, with the largest possible drink and popcorn. If I can ever get my act together, we’ll hopefully get to hang out again outside of the gym. Maybe for a Star Trek marathon?
- You’re one of the best things to come out of my flirtation with KOCC. You’re such a beautiful light, and I hope that you see what everyone else does. Also hope it isn’t months before I run into you again!
- I’m pretty sure that your picture is next to the word “badass” in the dictionary. You and your family have truly changed the course of my life, and I will never be able to thank you enough. The fierce love you have for your family is simply the most inspirational thing that I’ve ever experienced, and it wouldn’t surprise me if you’re too humble to realize that I’m writing about you. Much, much love.
- We met over a dartboard. It was supposed to be an “audition” for a roommate, but it turned into a lifelong friendship. Thank you for always believing in me, but more importantly, thank you for being there, even when you didn’t necessarily get where I was coming from.
- What a pleasure to share a car with you to Tribal Wars! You’re one cool lady, and I still can’t believe how much fun that weekend was; thanks for making what could have been an awkward time a total game-changer. Let me know if you wanna switch allegiances and be a Power Snatch next year ;-D
- Our classes together are few and far between, but it’s always a blast running into you at the gym! I’m still really grateful for you lending me your shirt that day, too. I was mortified to keep forgetting it, so it meant a lot that you were relaxed about waiting for it. Hope you had fun on your trip, and would love to catch up soon!
- You’ve been a fixture of my life in New Orleans for a couple of years now, though we’ve known each other longer. I’m so happy for you in this new transition to a different neighborhood and pace of life. Your inner happiness is shining out of you now in a way I hadn’t seen before. Here’s to many more years of ever-increasing abundance.
- At first you were just a big weirdo, but you grew on me. I knew I’d found a friend for life when (insert thing we’ll never talk about here) happened, and it was kind of heartwarming and cute instead of awful. Is it weird that both of us can probably think of a few things to put in that blank? Hmmm. Thanks for putting up with my awkward pauses, suspicious silences, and weird theories, as well as my drunken mumblings and those moody texts. You mean the world to me. Now let’s pretend I never said any of these embarrassing things and go on with our days.
- You’re my awesome friend’s cool mom, and though we’ve only met twice, I decided I liked you the first time (and just ask your daughter – that’s a HUGE deal). Thank you for inviting me into your home last Thanksgiving, for being an amazing mother, and for making such gorgeous works of fabric art.
- We don’t really gush over our friendship, but that’s kind of a Scorpio thing. I love you and your hubby to pieces, and I hope that we’re friends for the rest of our lives. You’re my all time favorite person to go exploring with, and though I won’t be around for the birthday hike this year, hoping to get to find some new trail or graveyard (or both) with you again sometime very soon.
- Love your dry wit and world travel stories. It was a pleasure hanging out with you after Tribal Wars, and I wish you a successful fundraising journey of your own. We don’t know each other well, but it’s obvious you’ve got a big heart. I hope you conquer the world with it.
- I don’t get to see you often, but every time we’ve hung out you’ve made me laugh. That’s one of my favorite things in the world, so thank you! I never got to thank you for having me at your house for that kickball team gathering, but it was a great evening and I appreciated your kindness and excellent hostessing skills.
- Dinner the other night was fabulous. Thank you! You’re such a kind and attentive person – a truly gracious personality – and I’m beyond pleased to see that you’re heading into this new phase of your life with a sense of adventure (and panache). I dearly appreciate the many kindnesses you’ve paid to me over the years; quite simply, you’ve given me a standard to which to aspire.
- Last, but actually first. I’ve known you for longer than anyone else on this list. You shared some of the most precious memories of college with me. It sounds dorky, but I truly feel that sharing a song with other people, taking the time to listen, to layer on sound until the entire song is a perfect little layer cake of notes, builds relationships that go beyond words. Sure a cappella folks might be a little nerdy, but we’re the GOOD kind of nerdy. I’m so happy that we’ve stayed in touch all these years, and I’m even more excited for you and your wife as you welcome a new little voice into the world. Much love.
To all of you, and the many, many more who have touched my life in various ways since the day of my birth – thank you. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for supporting my dream. Thank you for asking how I’m doing. Thank you for helping me hold myself accountable for accomplishing this big, scary, amazing adventure. I still don’t feel like I’ve said it enough, but I guess “thank you” will just have to do for now.