Thursday, May 29, 2008

What Saying Thank You Says About You

I've been thinking a lot about gratitude lately. I have another angle to share on this most important topic.

Last year, I made a sizable donation to a church where my grandfather preached many years ago. They needed to repair the bell tower. I donated money, in my grandfather's name, on behalf of my family to pay for a portion of the needed repair.

I received a receipt from the church's treasurer, but did not receive even a small note of thanks from the minister. I was pretty shocked. I did not make the donation so that I would be thanked. I was, however, shocked that, a minister would not personally acknowledge a sizable gift that was helping to solve a serious problem for the congregation. I had met with this minister personally and he was well aware of me, my family and our connection to his congregation. It seemed 'off' to me.

When I was sitting at lunch with my aunt and uncle this weekend, we were talking about the 'lost art' of writing thank you notes. When I was a child, I was taught to acknoweldge gifts I received by writing thank you notes. It's just what you did. Now-a-days, it seems that thank you notes are not the social convention. I think that's a shame.

When we express gratitude, I believe we send out a message to the universe that opens the door to receive even more good. When we receive gifts and don't acknowledge or outwardly appreciate them in any way, I believe we send the universe another message: that this really isn't important to us and it doesn't matter if we get more of it or not.

Apply that concept to my story about the minister not acknowledging a gift. If that sends a message out to the universe that says, "this isn't important to me," what might happen to contributions to his ministry?

The aunt I was lunching with, gave the perfect counter example to my story. She knits/crochets baby blankets for many of her relatives. She rarely receives thank you notes. She has a friend who is a close friend of Michael Douglas, (Wall Street, Romancing the Stone). When Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones had their baby, she sent them one of her beautiful blankets. Guess what? She received a personal thank you note from them for the gift! These remarkably wealthy and successful people, acknowledged and appreciated the gift of a total stranger.

To me, I believe that their attitude is what propelled them to the immense levels of success that they enjoy.

A small, struggling church community that doesn't acknowledge the gifts/donations they receive, versus tremendously successful people who acknowledge the gift of a stranger. There is some wisdom being revealed here!

Appreciate what you have. Appreciate what you are given. Acknowledge what the universe supplies you with and you will receive more of it. ignore what the universe supplies you with and watch that supply dwindle further.

A pretty simple concept that is pretty easy to implement. What do we have to lose??

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