You Could Always Just Say Thank You

thank you peachSometime during the growing up years, in the South,  where I was raised and am raising mine ,we learned something about the transactions of words. And the early lessons get buried  the deepest if the soil is rich and the heart is receptive and the love is fertile. We feel shy and unworthy in our youth when words of encouragement or of the complimentary variety are showered on our heads. But we were told. Just say thank you. And isn’t even that difficult sometimes. It means we hear, we receive, we acknowledge that we caught the bouquet of gracious words.  We  now hold them, bear them, own. them. Grasping them even in our fragile souls. Thank you is the acknowledgement we at least hear and receive.

But we know it is much deeper and more complicated than that. It is a holy and sacred transaction.

And then there is the saying them ourselves. Two words. Unfurled from our tongues, released from our lips. Remembering to. Meaning to. Wanting to. Sending them out to others. Often. Authentically.

Yesterday we met some lively young women. And it was our privilege to pile them on our boat. We headed out to the secluded beaches of this Lowcountry coastline and basked in the glory that was the beauty of one summer day. The Patient one was at the helm and like all good captains he cared well for his charges. They delighted in every small detail of the day. Every shell they found, every glance at the horizon, nothing was lost on their porous souls. The day poured into them and they reflected back the joy in their countenance. Smiles of  delight from those a generation below us are contagious. And we remember to sing a song of wonder too.  At the end of the day, they turned, one in particular, and said thank you to their captain. For the day, for the adventure, for the journey. And that gray haired man,he lit up.  And he beamed a  boyish grin. One that gratitude and gratefulness can birth.

One of my favorite poets is John Blase of “The Beautiful Due” blog. A recent poem of his written forFather’s Dayspeaks to saying Thank You. In his straight forward and profound style of poetry, I found his words tucked  brilliantly into the gentle  lines of this poem. He  amplifies  the power of saying this to men. No  doubt it is important  to shower genuine, authentic gratitude on those who pour into our lives. But maybe I need to re-think the frequency of these words leaving my lips to my husband, among others.

This morning I turned to him and said quite simply, thank you for all you do to take care of us. It changed me. It changed him. Gratitude always changes us. The air in the room softened. The mood lightened. That Monday mood where everything wants to feel oppressive and needy and urgent, if we allow it. It felt kinder and gentler.

Thank you says we are blessed. Thank you says I love you. Thank you says your efforts are not in vein. They are appreciated. And they are beautiful.

We prayed on this Monday. And we thanked God.

And I am reminded how much I take for granted. How many times I have missed the lessons of my childhood. You could always just say thank you. 

We sat on the porch last night. Our souls rocking to the lapping of the Intercoastal Waterway, under the super moon, hair and skin kissed by  salted sea. We are molded by the gifts. And the discussion turns to how much manners matter to people. Small cultural nuances, like respect and gratitude, standing at the proper time for young men, saying thank you, helping others. We have heard these lessons all our lives. And the South won’t let up, in some small pockets. In our homes we are bearing down on good manners. Because respect and gratitude and a servant’s heart fall into the laps of appreciative adults. And sow good things.

God, please remind me to hear these lessons too. The ones we are trying to teach. Of saying with my lips what I feel in my heart. Of pouring out to others,  helping and serving. Of getting outside of myself and seeing and hearing a need in another. Of responding in love. Of living a life which reflects how grateful I am to be YOURS. To know you

And because I want you to know, Lord hear my thank you this summer Monday in the middle of June. Remind me to speak a vertical thank you always and to extend a horizontal thank you often. In love, in sincerity. Wanting nothing in return. A transaction of a pure heart. A grateful heart. A heart that knows you.

I want to always say thank you.  Not out of rote duty or empty cultural mores, not flowing from cliched patterns of speech or lessons of my youth.

I want to grow a thank you spirit in my home and in my very soul.

And then watch the changes that will occur in me and in the lives around me. Vertical, horizontal words of grateful praise.

Make my life a hymn of praise, in all the moments that are gratefully mine.

Joining Laura at The Wellspring and Michelle at Michelle de Rusha dot com and Jen for SDG

When Peace Walks In And Takes A Seat

Peace walked in at five o’clock sharp, sat down in comfy chair, sat fireside. And chatted like the days that never were before. Under a roof, and in a house, this one. All shiny penny new. There was a grown sound in the belly of the boy about to be a man. And he had caught Peace like you catch a cold. It just covers you up and you need boxes of Kleenex and some tender love from a momma. But here you need all eyes open wide to see that Peace has come and it was not caught, it was prayed for and waited on, and there are bits and pieces of the Prodigal all over this like one walks through the woods and picks up beggar lice. Its grace. But we’re not picking any of this off. No a momma thanks and praises and tells others like she did the other day. She told the momma with tears in here eyes, you stand on the edge of the cliff in that waiting. You stand hanging by the thread of hope, all worn and weary and dangling, and you never give up. You hold tight and hold fast and you pray hard and you claim and cling. And when the Peace stays longer than you thought you finally breathe and you exhale and you pinch your own skin and say it is not a dream. It is a walking miracle sitting by the fire and talking all grown-up man. A language so new and beautifully different, as foreign. And if they ever tell you otherwise, those who lose their hope and lost their hope all along the way, you say yes yes it comes, the peace. The journey walkers do walk in one day and drop their peace on a home. And the bag is full to overflowing with letters dipped in grace. Unwrap and open each one slowly. There is beauty there. Always cling hard, you momma warriors to the knowing that the one day peace will come. And maybe even at five o’clock sharp, as promised. But this time the promise kept, and the heart filled with peace and a new fullness of maturity and ripeness for the picking. With the tender fingers of the momma’s heart she picks up the pieces of the peace, holds them to her bosom. As longed for, waited for, peace settles on the home and sits by that crackling dancing fiery flame of warmth. She re-reads each letter sent straight with piercing to the heart. A bullseye to her soul. Savors the words spoken, written on her momma heart. They are good. And they warm more than any flickering orange flame from the brick laid hearth every could or would. Peace walked in at five o’clock sharp. I hope she’ll stay awhile. She warms the once cold places as she settles in and makes herself at home. I close the door and bolt it shut. While making up the guest bed, I pray Peace will stay a good long while.

joining Laura today at Laura Boggess dot com and with Jen at Finding Heaven Today and Heather for Just Write.

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