October 25, 2010

Sometimes 'Thank You' just doesn't seem sufficiant

image from google

Yesterday at church, the lesson given in Young Womens was on Gratitude and Appreciation. It was to teach the girls the importance of expressing thanks to those around us.

I have been thinking on this lesson and can't shake the desire to mention a few experiences for which I will be forever grateful. I don't think some people realize the impact they have on others when they put forth an effort, whether big or small, to offer an act of kindness.

~

One year, while we were in school with two kids and one on the way, a basket was left on our doorstep around Christmas. I remember just staring at it. I didn't know many established families in the area and my family was clear across the country back in Florida. It contained presents for the kids, I mean, nice presents, chocolate, not the cheap kind, and a $50 gift card.

As starving students, $50 was huge! I mean, huge! Well, it still is I guess. But that was the year we had bought all of our kids presents from the dollar store.

To this day, I have no idea who left it. But every Christmas I think about that basket and the sacrifice it represented for someone else, and breathe a word of thanks to whoever that incredibly thoughtful person was.

~

I have a friend, Maria. We've never met in person, we've never even talked on the phone. We have only ever communicated though emails. But I have received box, after box of clothes from her for my kids that hers have outgrown. They are always so nice and often still have tags on them. She has also sent books and other presents for us.

I think my favorite thing, that I still smile at, was the half empty package of pull-ups she sent in one box. I loved it! We go through pull-ups like crazy around here since one of my boys still wets every single night. And I just love that she knew me enough to not be embarrassed to send such a wonderful thing!

I haven't had to buy my boys clothes in over a year because of her. I can't even begin to imagine how much money that has saved us. How does one say thank you to that?

~

And just two weeks ago, right after I announced I was pregnant and feeling really lousy, I was suppose to watch my friend Gina's kids for a couple hours.

Instead, she called me up that day and declared that she was going to come pick up my kids and allow me a couple hours of rest. She came at 10am and left with my three youngest kids. I didn't see them again until 3pm! I cannot tell you of a time when anyone outside of family, have taken my children voluntarily for that long.

If that wasn't enough, when she brought them back, she also brought along dinner for my family.

Dinner!

I don't think I had told her how smells have really assaulted my senses this pregnancy, something new for me, and that cooking is so, so difficult as I tend to gag because of the smells, or how standing makes my daily headaches worse.

But there she was, food in hand when she has four young kids of her own to take care of.

~

I could go on and on. But these three instances just kind of stuck out to me as I listened to the lesson. I know just saying thank you seems like such a weak thing when these stories represent such a big impact for me.

But I hope they know, and anyone else who has every gone out of their way to lend me hand, how much I appreciate them and their efforts.

If you feel so inclined to accept a challenge, write up a story or two about a time when someone really touched your life and link it up here. It will be fun to read through them!

20 super cool people speak:

Emily C said...

My blog is private, so I won't link, but I will tell you a story.

Last year for Christmas we received a note in the mail saying that Santa knew we were good in 2009, with $200 in cash in the envelope.

Then, in April, when we realized we had less than $1000/month to live on until Josh started earning money in September (and that had to be enough to help us move cross-country) a young man in a suit and tie knocked on our door, asked if we were the Coynes, and handed us an envelope and ran off laughing. $400 in cash.

Once, when we didn't know how to pay off the last of the dr's bills after Guy was born, an aunt sent us a $300 check (the bill was $307) as a belated wedding gift.

God is good, and he uses ourselves to help others.

Sue said...

These stories are so touching, and the last one actually made me tear up.

I'm glad you have good people around you right now!

=)

iamwoman said...

I LOVE this. Thanks for the reminder to remember;)

Neisha said...

I love friends like that and try to be that good of a friend to others

M-Cat said...

What a great thing! And I am mostly def gonna do this and link back to your great idea!

Lesa said...

Thanks for the challenge!

kelly said...

This seriously made me teary eyed, with a big lump in my throat.

I t reminded me of when I was a freshman in college. I was paying my own way and times were tough and tight. Randomly, in the mail, I received a check for $75 ($75!!) from an aunt and uncle I hadn't heard from in a couple years. I was in such desperate need at that time and to make it even sadder, that money helped me go home to see my mom after she had brain surgery. What a sob story, right? How do you thank people for that?

Just saying hank you seems so unworthy when people bless your lives and meet your needs in such an inspired way that they couldn't have even anticipated the need. It's like a dual thank you, to them and Heavenly Father.

Patty Ann said...

Wonderful post Serene. Sometimes, thankyou's don't seem to ever be enough. But I do believe that it helps when we remember, give thanks, and find a way that we can help someone else. I will never forget the visiting teacher who came to my house when I was really, really sick with my last baby. She gathered ALL the dirty laundry in the house, took it home, washed it, folded it, and brought it back and put it away. How in the world can you ever thank someone for doing your dirty laundry???? I remember that whenever someone needs help. It is the simple things that really make a difference in our lives. What an amazing blessing we can be to each other!

Anne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Saimi said...

Beautiful post Serene! Love the Link up idea too can't wait to read everyone's post!

Terresa said...

Beautiful gratitude post.

For FHE this October, we've been playing Halloween Ghosts to other families in the ward, ringing doorbells and leaving plates of brownies and cookies, trying to teach our children the joy is forever in the giving of things, not the getting.

And that one act of kindness, however small (and however high in calorie!) can make a huge difference. :)

Melanie Jacobson said...

I posted a link to a blog post I did a few weeks ago about a small act of kindness that changed a whole day. I love the principle of gratitude.

Cheeseboy said...

I have gratitude for your gratitude. Feel free to send me a 50 dollar gift card.

Mama Smith said...

Many thoughts I have...on this subject...but, I want to go in another direction...ACTING upon a PROMPTING...

I was telling my grandmother about this incredible family I had met...I can't remember, now, how many children...but, it was OVER "10" children...living in a 2 bedroom shack...BUT, they were the most RICH FAMILY I had ever met...They GAVE ALL they had...to anyone who came to their door...

This family had a son on a mission in Sweden...ONE OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE MISSIONS in the church. In those days, the families had to pay the cost of the mission per month, not the "set amount" we pay, today...

My "NON-MEMBER" grandmother reached into her little purse and pulled out a $10.00 bill and told me to send it to the MISSIONARY...which I did...

I received a letter from this young elder...who THANKED MY GRANDMOTHER in the most humblest of terms...You see...he had ran out of money...that month...and had not "eaten" for a few days...He and his companion had been petitioning the Lord...that by His mercy...they could receive some food...It was on that day, he received my letter with the $10.00 bill...that became the means to obtain food...till money arrived from the States from his family...

Father in His tenderest of mercies...does work through all of us...I am DEEPLY GRATEFUL for the SPIRIT...who truly does...understand our NEEDS....and sends his earthly "angels" to help us...when we need it most....

Mindy said...

Amen!

Amber said...

OH, Serene! This is amazing. Your stories not only touched me, but inspired me to do better.

I've been meaning to write a gratitude post for awhile. I think you've given me the extra push!

Larsen said...

Thanks for saying Thanks Serene. It's a fun surprise to catch myself on your blog, once again.

It was peachy fine with your four and my four and dinner.

Okay, it was hectic, but I wasn't sick, so it wasn't bad at all.

REALLY.

Anonymous said...

WOW....You know how to get tears from the heart!! You are such a blessing to others (and me)...it is humbling to hear we have blessed you and your beautiful family!

Thank YOU for being WHO you are!!!

:D Maria

Anne said...

Whoops- could you delete that "Lovey Link Up" thing I just put there- it was a mistake. : )

Anne said...

Okay- how did I manage that- now there are two. Sorry!

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