Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
I’d like to thank all the people I never thanked.
This could be a sweeping generality: family, friends, first responders, the lady cleaning the bathroom at the gas station where I stopped for gas.
But, I have something more specific in mind.
I’m thinking of my fellow student Tom, who drove me to and from work for two weeks when my ’94 Chevy Blazer bit the dust. And I’m thinking of Eric, who drove me to the car dealership, because how does one buy a new car when they have no way to get there?
I always meant to make them cookies. Give them a card. Something – anything – to say thank you.
I never did.
It wasn’t because I wasn’t grateful, because I was. They saved me at a time when I had limited directions to turn.
It wasn’t because I didn’t have time. I mean, you can only walk around the block so many times. How hard would it have been to make a plate of cookies?
Why didn’t I?
More Hidden Thanks
I’d also like to thank Tiffany, who invited me that same year to Easter dinner.
“I’ll meet you at Carterville and then you can follow me,” she said.
“Great!” I said, making a note to look that up on a map. “Where in Carterville? Like, what address or landmark or whatever?”
She looked at me like I’d just asked her to define the exact confections of a jelly bean.
“Like Carterville,” she said again. “There’s a stop sign. I’ll meet you there.”
Just Because We Don’t Get Thanks…
I’m pretty sure I told Tiffany thank you, but there is no way she knew how much her invitation meant to me. I think of her from time to time and wonder what she’s up to. I’m not sure I can even conjure her last name, but I remember so powerfully how much I appreciated our interactions. I was a thousand miles from home and everything I knew, but I was less alone than I realized.
The more I ponder the reasons why I never thanked these people in the moment, or why I never reciprocated their kindness, the more compassion I have for others who likewise do not reciprocate to me. For whatever reason, I did not have the capacity at that time. And for whatever reason, there are others who do not have the capacity now. Just because we do not get a thank you does not mean it wasn’t appreciated. Just because our outreach is not reciprocated does not mean it didn’t have impact.
I’m here to say it mattered.
A Network of Thankfulness
Jesus told his followers that whatever we do to our brothers and sisters we do to Him. Paul admonished that we should work at everything as though we are working unto the Lord. And here’s the thing I’ve realized: we’re all connected.
We may do something for someone and have it reciprocated, but usually the web is more complicated than that. It’s far more likely that we do something for someone, and someone different does something for us, and we may not do something for them, but someone else will. Complicated and beautiful, right?
There is a vast network of exchanges happening, and at the core, we are doing everything unto Jesus, and Jesus is doing everything unto us. Every good and perfect gift comes from above. Not from a friend, a coworker, or a stranger. The gift may come through them, but it comes from God.
Maybe someday in this life or the one after I will get to say thank you to Tom, and Eric, and Tiffany. In the meantime, I pray that someone is being a blessing to them. And I pray that whoever I can bless carries that blessing on to someone else.
We are like surges through a global neural network, transmitting the signal that comes from above. All throughout God’s kingdom there are flashes of blessings, fires of thanksgiving. I’m thankful to both give and receive.
Who do you wish you could say thank you to?
This post was first written and shared at inspireafire.com. Happy Month of Thanksgiving!