Echoes of Thankfulness

October 2018

Jessica Pelnar

As my 8-year-old self tears at wrapping paper to get to the goodies inside, my mother demandingly calls out, “Say, ‘Thank you!’” Of course, I distractedly blurt out quick thanks and slip a small smile in the direction of the gift giver. It wasn’t until after my high school graduation that my mother stopped reminding me to say thank you. I’m actually quite a grateful person, but she valued saying thank you before, during, and after receiving a gift. Now, it is me who is the mother, smiling to my daughter Layla (pictured right) and reminding her to shout a, “Thank you!” to her friends and family.

Between emails, texts, letters, and social media posts, we have an opportunity to express gratitude for one another with ease and efficiency. Why, then, is it so difficult to make ourselves send a simple note of thanks? Maybe our life is too busy, maybe we forget, or maybe it is because saying thank you is like saying, “How are you?” It has become a staple in everyday conversation but can lack depth and meaning. As we hustle through the day, how often do you stop and expect someone to actually tell you how they are doing ... REALLY doing?

Mother Teresa said, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” As we roll into a season of thanksgiving, how will you slow down and take time to express kindness? Send that email that you have been meaning to write to a mentor about how they changed your life; smile and look into the eyes of someone who just held the door for you; or perhaps write a card to a donor to whom you would usually send an email. Let the glow of gratitude radiate from your being so that everyone around you feels the presence of God.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:15

Jessica Pelnar is Mission Advancement Coordinator at St. Marcus Lutheran Church & School in Milwaukee.

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