The Lost Art of Thank You
When my husband and I got married, we had almost everything we needed for our new life supplied by his family and our closest friends. Even our honeymoon was made possible thanks to his grandfather’s generous donations (in the form of small wads of cash secretly tucked into the palm of my husband’s hand each time they met! So sneaky!). We were both younger and inexperienced in the world of formal events (I didn’t even have programs printed for our ceremony because we had no idea you were supposed to supply those for guests!). The idea of thank you cards had briefly crossed my mind, but I just figured I would eventually get around to those, and even if I didn’t, it wouldn’t be a big deal anyway, right? Wrong. A few weeks after our wedding I started getting comments from my in-laws about how certain relatives were disgruntled that they had not received appropriate thank-yous for their wedding gifts. While at the time I thought it was rather impolite to demand thank you notes, I realize now that they had every right to be upset. Many of my husband’s relatives had traveled long distances and given up work and vacation time to be at our wedding. Then, I had simply run away to my honeymoon and forgotten all the small sacrifices they had made for us. What an ungrateful girl I must have seemed at the time!
I did eventually send thank you cards to everyone (we had so many people at our wedding, it took an entire year to do!). Now I try to make it a point to send thank you cards for every little kindness someone does for me. You see, now I’m a little older, and I’ve been on the other side of the thank you card issue. I have been the one to disrupt my life to travel to weddings, graduations, and baby showers. And it’s so nice to get that little card weeks later that simply acknowledges the time and effort I spent.
If you’re reading this and begrudging the idea of sending thank you notes, may I offer a gentle nudge? Thank you notes are not just something imposed on us by society. They are a way of showing gratitude, honor, and respect to those who have given into our lives.
Our gratitude towards others comes from the gratitude we show to our Lord first.
We all know that we should be grateful to the Lord for all He does:
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy endures forever. -Psalm 118:1
And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. -Colossians 3:17
The Bible also mentions being grateful to each other:
Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. -Romans 13:7
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another. -Romans 12:10
Honor all people. -1 Peter 2:17
Thank you notes may seem like a chore, but they are a simple but profound way of being the godly woman we desire to be. By honoring those in our lives, we honor the God who made them each in His image.
An added perk of sending thank you notes is that it makes you stand out to people. Sending a quick thank you email to a potential boss who just interviewed you is a great way to get noticed! Sending one to the person who just wrote you a recommendation may make them more inclined to write you one next time you need it. I’m not saying these are reasons we should send notes, I’m only saying they do have their benefits!
So this week, make it a point to pay attention to those around you who offer you a service or give into your life in small and big ways. When was the last time you sent your mom a thank you card for just being your mom? Or to your mailman, your professor, or that co-worker who just covered your shift at the last minute?
Make writing notes as fancy or as uncomplicated as you need it to be. You can find inexpensive cards at the dollar store that you can simply sign your name on or, like me, get a box of blank cards at a discount store that you can decorate to your heart’s content. What helps me is sending the cards out with my monthly bills. That way all my stamps and envelopes are in the same place, and I only have to worry about it one time.
Let’s start bringing back the lost art of the thank you. Let’s start an epidemic of gratitude and honor that brings all the glory back to our Lord!