I love this time of year. Even though we know that winter is coming, autumn paints a perfect metaphor for allowing ourselves to let go of the things that no longer breathe joy or fulfillment in our lives in order to prepare and make room for new seasons in our lives. I am feeling particularly thankful this year. Perhaps it’s the unseasonably warm and sunny days we’ve been having or seeing the world as brand new through the eyes of my 18 month old. I’m not sure what it is, but my heart is just overflowing this year.
This is where the idea for the thankfulness project came.
I plan to write 30 thank you cards during the month of November, one for each day, as a way to reflect and prepare my heart for the holiday season. My life is filled with people who provide blessings and nourishment to my life, but rarely do I take the time to let them know how much that means. Some will go to loved ones, co-workers, and neighbors, but I also want to challenge myself to look out for “moments of thankfulness” in the mundane of daily life and give cards to strangers who went out of their way to make my day a little better. I plan to keep blank cards in my car, desk and purse for just such occasions.
I know a lot of people will say that the thank you card is dead and that texts and emails work just fine, but my heart still skips a beat when I find a hand addressed envelope waiting for me in my mailbox. It is soul nourishing to know that someone took the time to sit down and write a note of thanks. Right after I had my daughter, I wanted to write a thank you note to a particular nurse who was with me from the moment that I walked through the hospital doors until my daughter was born. While there were many professionals who played an integral part in my daughter’s birth, this particular nurse stands out in my memory. She was so calm and her presence brought peace. I shared with her my birth plan and she advocated for me when my midwife had not yet arrived. She played an important part in making sure that I achieved the birth I wanted, even when I didn’t have the energy to advocate for myself. As often happens, life got busy with an infant and I never did write her a thank you. About two months ago, I was thinking of her in the car and decided I was going to try to find out who she was and send her a card. I called the hospital with just her first name, but they were able to identify her and gave me her address. I figured she didn’t remember me, but I had to make sure she knew that she made a difference that day and that I would never forget her.
Who are you thankful for? Is there someone who has made an impact in your life? Have you always wanted to let them know, but thought it was too late? I would encourage you to use the month of November as a way to show thankfulness for those who have made a difference in your life either past or present.
Maybe your thankfulness will be contagious.
**This would be a great project to do with your kids also! Get them involved. Ask them who they are grateful for and have them come up with ways to show their thankfulness. It could go beyond cards. Bake cookies for the neighbor. Make dinner for a family going through a difficult time. Create an art project for a teacher. What a great way to prepare your children for the thanksgiving season.**