Friday, June 13, 2014

The Thank You Experiment

So, I'm in the sixth month of my "Thank You Experiment". It has been such an interesting thing for me to do. Just to explain what this is... way back before 2014 began, I decided I was going to write one Thank You note or Love note every single day of 2014. The one rule is that it had to be a mailed note... not an email. I have sent plenty of email thank you's, but for this, I wanted them to be hand-written, received-in-the-mailbox notes. Did you know how many darling Thank You notes and cards there are out there? I think Target is my favorite for an incredible selection and great prices. It makes it even more fun to write the notes when they are on pretty cards.

I had no idea who I would write the 365 notes to.  As one friend wrote to me, "I don't even think I know that many people". You'd be surprised at how many people affect you as you go about your life:

-Family members. We have oodles and oodles of family members. And we rub shoulders with them often. There are always a few who, after the gatherings are over, stand out to me and have done something kind or noteworthy. Or who have touched me deeply through the years and need a proper thank you from me.

-Friends. So many good friends, both from the present day and from way back when. They continually love and support and I find many opportunities to write a thank you note for.

-Church friends, acquaintances, etc. We belong to a church with a very strong community, and there are so many experiences that I have found in which I can and should write a note of appreciation for. People are so good and do so many charitable things. And with my husband being a bishop, it seems we are the recipients of kindnesses over and again. And on another note... I have never (until now) written a thank you to a speaker in General Conference about a talk that touched me in a particular way. I've never even thought about it. But, after General Conference, when I was thinking about who to write a note to, I kept thinking about certain speakers who stood out to me. So, I wrote to them about how their talks were particularly meaningful to me. And do you know what? Some of them even wrote back! That is pretty amazing!

-And SO many others. Everyone else who touches me in such a way that I feel compelled to write them a note of gratitude.

Now, since January 1, I have learned a few things. I have learned that there are definitely things every single day to be thankful for. And many of them have to do with specific people in my life. Why not thank them? Why not let them know just how much something they said or did, meant to me? I'm surprised at some of the responses, and I'm even more surprised that there are some people who WRITE BACK to a thank you note (have I ever done this?... No):

"...I have never received a note like that about my singing. It was such a sweet surprise!"

"What a wonderful surprise greeting me in the mailbox after work..."

"The note meant so much to me... it made my week and I want to frame the note!"

"Receiving the note was such as sweet surprise and it made me cry."

"Just wanted to thank you for the kind note. It warmed my soul. Kind notes like that are examples to me of what can make one's day."

And here's the kicker... I know that I am not doing anything grandiose. This is what I should have been doing all along. I should always be showing gratitude to others. I have received much more from this little experiment than others have. I am sure of it. It is quite a thing, each night, to sit and reflect on my day, and my feelings and ALWAYS come up with someone to write a note to. I've wondered if it would be hard, as time goes on, but it hasn't yet. There are some people who have received more than one note from me throughout the months, but that doesn't matter. If they continue to stand out in that way, they should also continue to be thanked and noticed. It has made me think much more deeply about people and the services they do, and the time they put in to things. And how important it is to let them know my feelings of thankfulness. Why haven't I always done this? I mean, I've written the obvious thank you notes for gifts and such, but why haven't I written a note to someone who has worked so hard to do a musical number in church that touches me in such a beautiful way? I hope that I am bringing about change within myself... that I will ever more have that desire to let others know how grateful I am for their time, their service, their kindnesses.

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