Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

Memorial Day, whenever celebrated, whatever called, is a day we should welcome, lest we forget those who fought and died for the freedoms we enjoy.  Here’s something I wrote for a previous Memorial Day.

 Above us

“In Flanders field the poppies blow…”

And grow, too
(as well they should
given our bones and flesh and blood
gone to fertilizer)

gone to grow
not peace
but yet more war
another layer of human fertilizer
above us

When will they ever learn?

No doubt
never
“Man” being what he is

But there are things worth fighting for
and so we gave our all
(and cheered those left behind
to live and grow
above us)

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gratitude copyright janet m. webb 2015

The words “thankful” and “gratitude”  have popped up in my life quite often over the last weeks.  Not long ago, I mentioned that in one of my online groups, every Thursday is Thankful Thursday, a day when we lists things or people for which we are thankful.  On her blog, another friend is encouraging her readers to list one thing each day for which they’re grateful.  Finally, a few days ago, an online friend posted this saying:

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.

Are you seeing a trend here? (more…)

Although there’s always been power in the written word, I think there’s more power now in the age of
the internet, emails, cell phones and texting, because so few people actual write on paper. “In the old day”, people wrote letters; literally wrote them. They kept diaries, not blogs, and many diaries, even from hundreds of years ago, are still around. (That may be a good or bad thing, depending on what the person wrote, but we’ll leave that for now.) There are undoubtedly quite a few people of my generation who still have letters or cards from friends in a scrapbook or, more likely, a box in the attic, where these missives might be taken out periodically and re-read.

There’s power in that. There are memories. There’s the distinctive script of the writer, maybe even a drawing or doodle added. Things that bring that person to mind and to life.

When I started “writing” this, though, my thoughts were on the lost art of the thank-you note. Maybe it has more to do with gratitude, as exemplified in the title of Alexander McCall Smith’s book, “The Lost Art of Gratitude”. But let me ask you. How often have you gotten a thank-you note from someone to whom you sent a gift? How did it make you feel? And when you haven’t gotten one, how did that make you feel?

I’m not putting down any other form of thanks. Thank-you’s in person are fine, easy, and inexcusable to miss. We’ll agree that sending an email or thank-you e-card, or making a phone call all work, too. Also, let’s make it clear that not thanking the gift-giver in some way is completely unacceptable. We’ve given substantial weddings gifts and never had an acknowledgement of that fact. We’ve sent gifts to relatives and not heard a peep in return. Sorry. Not OK!! It’s not so much for me as for the person who received the gift; that person should realize the thought and sentiment that went into picking the gift or signing the check and respond with gratitude. That’s it. End of story.

But I think that in these days of communication by technology and despite the fact the US Postal Service keeps raising the price of stamps for less and less service, and sometimes not even polite service when it’s there, there’s something special about a hand-written note or letter. It shows you care. It indicates you took the time to respond, to show your thanks, appreciation and, yes, love. It says that even if you didn’t really like the gift or it wasn’t very much (but all that was affordable), whether it was handmade or from an expensive store, you appreciate what lay behind the gift as much or more than the gift itself. And it shows you, in return, took that little extra time to indicate your understanding and your love and affection.

It doesn’t matter if you bought a card (Half Price Books has cute, inexpensive boxes of thank-you cards), made a card, wrote note, sent a postcard or wrote the note for your child who can’t yet write, wrote it right below the thing that’s an unrecognizable picture of something, something you thoughtfully labeled. What matters is the thought, brought into tactile form by the written communication. What matters is the love. And the gratitude. And it matters for your sake; you, the person who received the gift and now are giving a little something in return.

So say thank-you. And if you want it to be a little more special, consider writing a thank-you note