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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Thank you, Please

We have gotten a cavalcade of questions but I wanted to take a moment and say, "Thank you." Thanks for reading, writing in, answering each other's questions sometimes more quickly and succinctly that I ever could. And thanks for being understanding when I don't keep up as well as I should.

When I was a young teenager I had a nun who was our theology teacher. This was at an all girl Catholic school. She never taught what you might think of when you think of "theology"--the study of God. There was no catechism, that was all in grade school.  There was no Bible reading or study of the New Testament. We actually did a lot of that in grade school, too.

But she did give massive week long assignments. Assignments that actually took an entire week to complete. Two of them have stayed with me, and one, in particular, has been rather a lifelong assignment.

For one week we had to thank everyone for everything, no matter how large or small, no matter who it was. We were to be relentless and diligent. She must have been surprised at the end of the class when no one thanked her for giving out the assignment. That would have right in the spirit of the thing.

But I loved theology and all its many thoughts and prayers and meanings, and I was always game to take on a challenge.  No big deal, to thank people constantly. Maybe a little silly. Who really needs to be thanked all the time, anyhow? I really don't.

Off I went.  I really didn't realize how many people actually were doing things for me all the time. I'm not sure I really covered everyone and everything. I certainly hadn't thanked her for the assignment. Nonetheless, I was extremely busy all week thanking people.  It was eye opening and thought provoking.

And it felt really good.

You know, at first, you might not really mean it.  You say, "thanks" but you don't actually feel any gratitude. But it sneaks up on you.  By the end of the week I was very grateful for the people in my life and all the things they did for me. It made me want to do more for them.

And I still do it.  Once I started, I never stopped.  It's as automatic to me as a smile or a hand shake can be.  But not so automatic that I don't actually feel the gratitude.

So, I'm passing it off to you.  Try it.  Have your kids try it. One week.



Donna. W said...

One year at Thanksgiving I decided to write thank-you letters to relatives and friends for things they had done for me, and what they meant to me. It changed my life, and I think it changed some of their lives, too.

Anne said...

THANK YOU! for posting this!! I will indeed be more mindful of thanking people in my life this coming week, and beyond! And I see that there is no particular saint of the day for today, Sept. 6.

Nancy Shuman said...

THANK YOU for writing this always enjoyable blog!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the wise, yet funny lessons!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your blog, Sister! I learn so much.

Question- over the past week or so, I have had answers to prayer pretty much immediately, and they were all yes answers. I am not complaining! These are good things, but I have to admit that I was/am a little creeped out and it's been a tear trigger all week. Literally, I would say I wished something was a certain way, and it would happen the next day. How should I interpret this?

Unknown said...

Danielle, the Holy Bible speaks of the perfect form of simple gratitude as being "Joy." Many times in the Bible when a saved person or a Saint was given in exchange for service to God they expressed a deep and sincere gladness that is today often misinterpreted as 'overflowing'. I do not think the Heavenly gift to you is overflowing or this would subtract from any thing around it. Things should not "overflow." Something overflowing can not be grasped in entirety ( like a beautiful waterfall for example, you can almost say it is too beautifull to hold but no ) and therefor may in a way be misleading to others. The church *does teach against misleading others you should know ( not an unforgivable sin though ). Personaly I would try and find a way to enjoy the joy ha ha :) Have you heard people say "my cup is overflowing," that would be sort of messy right?

Unknown said...

On the other hand there is always the scripture "Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?" Psalm 56:8 :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Leroy, and also for the nice comment on my blog. I'm pretty sure I get what you mean. Be blessed.

abishag said...

Oh, Thank You, SMM!

About 15 years ago or so when I worked in a bookstore (wait - I'm old now! when did that happen?) there was a trend for these sort of self-helpy, Oprah books that encouraged "an attitude of gratitude". It was all kind of glurgey and fluffy-bunny and Stuart Smalley and all that, but I tried to get into it. It never "stuck". I mean, I understood and approved of it, but it didn't quite sink in. A few years later - coinciding with my drift back towards Christianity - I began to notice all the great and small things that people and god were doing for me. Praying to Thank God for sending me the Holy Spirit to move my kiester back into the church pews was when I started praying again. For months when I was uncomfortable with asking God for help, I was still able to thank Him. And these past few years I am a happier person; I don't have more, but I appreciate more. Thanking people has been a big part of that.

genie said...

Sister MM....I now teach the children who are thrown out of their middle school classrooms for whatever irritated the teachers that day. I do not have a lot of rules, but I do have these: Read aloud "The Gloden Rule" taped in their work stalls...say "Yes, Ma'am" and "No, Ma'am"...say "Please" and "Thank You".....now I will add another...say "Thank You to your fellow students and teachers. You have taught me something new today. genie