With the interest in thank-you notes, I thought I’d share how I got started on making them an important part of my life.
One year for Lent, I decided that rather than giving up something, I would find a way to improve my life (and the lives of others) during those 40 days and 40 nights. It started with my grandparents. All of my grandparents lived in Ohio, so they lived about four hours away from our family. They were all very important to me (Lola, John (who my son is named after), Edna (or Nanny as she preferred to be called) and Trav) and I realized that even with the distance, I could build a stronger relationship to them during Lent by starting a letter writing campaign. I decided to write to all of them every week during Lent and it felt good to connect with them in a note beyond the typical thank-you note: I was writing something deeper about how they impacted my life and why they were important to me.
Once Lent was over, I thought I was done with my “Lenten sacrifice.” But, I found out that my grandparents came to look forward to my notes and that I had just started a life-long journey, not just a Lenten one.
As I mentioned in the previous post, my grandmother, Lola, lived to be 102 years old. We were so lucky that she lived in a nursing home close to us for the last 12 years of her life, so that we could see her often–even when she began to forget our names. When she came to live in the nursing home and when she died, my parents found my letters to her–she had saved them. That meant so much to me that she enjoyed our conversation from a distance.
When my Nanny got re-married to Bill, I kept up the tradition with him, even after Nanny died. He had been important to her and so he was important to me.
I think that is the gist of thank-you notes, or notes of any kind. While they may be old-fashioned and time-consuming to write, these notes are a very personal way to show and tell someone how important they are to us. As Lent has just started, I’ve decided that our family will do the same thing: we will remember each day what or who we are thankful for, and then we will choose one person to write to each week. This tradition that I started during Lent will become a family tradition, as well.
What or who are you thankful for? Have you told them lately? Lent is the perfect time to share your appreciation.
-p.s. I found this great image for Lent from http://www.thebeautyjackson.com/.