With November being the month Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, a day of gratitude, I though it might be a nice idea to discuss a delightful, yet sadly dying, skill. The art of the ‘Thank You’ note.
A few years ago a woman played the most beautiful piano might imagine her talent was certainly extraordinary, the testament of which could be viewed in the faces of the congregation. More than a few eyes shed tears that day.
Several days later I still found myself thinking about her beautiful piece, the mere memory of it moving me even then. I pulled out a plain piece of colored paper, sat down, and wrote her a little note to thank her for what her simple (for her) act had done for me.
The next Sunday this sister sought me out, gave me a hug, and thanked me for my note. Her next words shocked and amazed me.
“In over fifty years of playing the piano, that is the first thank you note I’ve ever received. Thank you.”
I couldn’t have been more stunned. All her remarkable talent she had shared for more years than I had been alive (times two) and I was the very first person to send her a card of gratitude. It touched and saddened me all at the same time.
The light in her eyes as she expressed her appreciation stirred something deep within me, and I began to formulate a plan. With what little money I had managed to save I bought a few packs of note cards as well as a good supply of stamps. From that day forward I began to look for those who could use a good ‘Thank you.’
It wasn’t always easy. There were times I’d go for several weeks with not finding someone, or I’d simply forget to look. Then there was the actual act of writing the note. At times the tiny little 3×4 card looked horribly small, making it difficult to fit my flood of words in such a teensy space. My handwriting would become very small in order to make room for everything I wished to say.
Other times the exact same sized cards appeared dreadfully large. I’d even taken to putting stickers on one side so I wouldn’t feel the pressure to fill it all up. My handwriting became larger when I found myself floundering for words. The lack of ideas of what to write came more from not knowing the person very well, being unable to draw from shared experiences.
That got me thinking. I might not know these people very well, but the Lord does. Therein came the drastic difference in how I approached my note writing. Each Saturday night, and again on Sunday morning, I began to pray to my Heavenly Father to show me who He thought needed a thank you.
I can testify to the blessings this one small and simple act has brought, not only to their lives, but to mine as well. I have made friends of people who were once strangers. They have become important voices in my life, and I am grateful for the spiritual nudge from our Heavenly Father, which set me on this track.
So what makes a good ‘Thank You note’?
1. Obviously, start off with their name. If it’s someone older than you, don’t address them by their first name, unless you’ve been invited to. Stick to Sister ______ or Brother ______. This presents them with respect.
2. Put down why you’re writing this person. It could be something as simple as, “I just wanted to say thank you for your talk on Sunday”, or something to that respect.
3. Next tell this person why their talk, or musical number, or act of kindness, or lesson touched you so much. This helps fill in space and gives the note an extra personal touch.
4. Find a good way to sum your note up. This will often echo your beginning sentence. For example, “I can’t tell you how much I appreciated your talk.”
5. Last, but not least, sign your card. Use both your first and last name, this way if the recipient keeps the note he/she will have a better reference as to who sent it. You’re welcome to put in ‘Sincerely’, ‘Love’, or ‘With thanks’. You could also come up with something all your own. I often put a little heart right before my name.
Though it may feel awkward and a little weird at first, if you feel the impression to write someone a note do not ignore it. You never know how such a simple act can influence the lives of those around you.