Gratitude that works

I grew up receiving handwritten letters from my maternal grandmother, in the days long before the advent of Internet and instant communication.  She would send lovely notes and I would sit at the kitchen table and respond.  In many way, this exchange was my first foray into writing.   When she passed away and I moved away from home beginning my career, Mom picked up the baton and wrote regularly.  Emails have largely, though not completely, replaced handwritten and Canada Post mailed communication.

This scarcity of the written word is probably why the thank you card I received in the mail yesterday was so surprising and pleasant.  A colleague and friend took time out of his busy day to express appreciation in a way that was timely, personal and mindful.  He could just as easily have sent an email with the exact same words, but would it have had the same impact?  No.  Why?  Because emails, even if you are diligent about saving them, still have an impermanence that can't be avoided.

BB King's spouse, Jo, expressed her gratitude for the painting I did of her late spouse with a phone call, then followed it up with a handmade thank you card.  Sonja and Mary did the same after they opened the package that contained a portrait of their late father, Rev. Harry Ploughman, done on Remembrance Day.  Those expressions of gratitude, like those that came before, are special treasures that I will hold onto forever.

If you're looking for a gift of gratitude that works, pick up a pen and start writing.  Words, authentically expressed and handwritten, will be more powerful and appreciated than anything else.


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