The idea that the words “thank you” are powerful is not new…at all. But, recently that power has stopped time for me, stopped my frantic feet and thoughts, enabling me to see and to hear the beauty and love around me.
One day last week, I worked my eight hours and went home, like lots of other people. I initiated the evening workout routine: feed the kids a quick and easy dinner, get dressed for the gym while they’re eating, gather the coats, diaper bag, and iPOD, workout, come home and do bedtime.
(I recently overheard some non-mom girls in their 20’s--one a full-time student and one a part-time employee--sarcastically talking, making fun of people like me, “Oh my gosh! You worked today AND fed your family dinner AND made it to the gym?! Wow. You deserve a prize.” I restrained myself from addressing these unmarried, non-mom girls, deciding to let them enjoy their ignorant self-righteousness for the next ten years.)
|My sweet boy and me last Easter|
I plopped the plate in front of my four-year-old and moved toward my bedroom to don my yoga pants and oversized t-shirt. His sweet voice stopped me mid-step, “Apples AND hot dog AND barbecue chips?! Great dinner, Mom. Thank you! Thank you!”
Of all the things I’d done that day, putting apple slices, a hot dog, and potato chips on a plastic preschooler’s plate was the thing that earned me a “thank you.” It wasn’t an expected or socially mandated word of thanks, but a thoughtful, genuine one. It was a “thank you” that said, “You know me. You know what I like. You gave me exactly what I wanted. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.”
The next day, my husband, daughter, and I picked up that same boy from preschool and headed to the circus. One of the grandparents had given us circus tickets and a hotel reservation in the city; other grandparents had pitched in money for the insanely-priced toys. After an awesome time at the circus and gathering take-out from everybody’s favorite place, we headed to the hotel for our dinner picnic. Then the boy realized that he hadn’t packed a bag; I hadn’t asked him to. He said, “I wish I had some dinosaurs to play with tonight.”
When we entered our room, I handed him a small book bag, “I packed this for you while you were at school today.”
He opened it to discover four toy dinosaurs, an electronic gadget, and two favorite books. He gasped, threw his hands up to hug me, smiled and said, “Thank you, Mom! You did a great job; it’s perfect!”
A woman I have the pleasure of ministering to called me that day. The despair, worry, and hopelessness I’d seen on her face and heard in her voice days before were gone. Instead, I heard joy and hope as she said, “The prayers you prayed for me two days ago were perfect. You really listened to me and were able to put words in a prayer that I didn’t know how to say. I’m sorry to bother you on your day off, but I just wanted to say, ‘thank you.’ I’m seeing the answers to your prayers for me today! Thank you for your time and your prayers.”
Five minutes prepping dinner.
Five minutes packing toys and books in a book bag.
Five minutes praying with and for someone.
It cost me so little.
“Thank you” gave me so much.