Friday, December 3, 2010

Unexpected Acknowledgment

I am a big believer in acknowledgment. I thank people when they do something nice for me, whether it is opening a door or buying me dinner. I try not to take even the most simple kindness for granted and recognize those around me, from the stranger who might offer me his seat to those closest to me for their generous and unwavering support. I even thank my Twitter followers when they like my post enough to retweet it to their friends.

I think it is good karma. You get back what you send out. Yet I am always surprised when I am the one receiving acknowledgment. I rarely expect it.  It took a long time but I've learned how to  gracefully say thank you. Still, as my Aunt Jean remarked to me recently it is much easier to give than to receive.

I was especially caught off guard when I received a note stuck in between all the bills and catalogs in the mail over the Thanksgiving weekend. Yes, there was actually good old fashioned mail in there, the kind in the form of a letter, handwritten with a stamp on it. Nothing  electronic about it.

But what amazed me the most was the content. It was a thank you note. For no obvious reason. I had not given the sender a gift or helped with a project. I had not recently hostessed a party or cooked them dinner. It was not from a client happy with the results of our coaching sessions or a reader that really likes my writing.

It was a simple note of gratitude for me and the role I have played in their life.
Wow, huh? 
That's how I felt.
Humbled. Appreciative. And yes, as is par for the course for me, with tears in my eyes.
I was moved.

Because you see, I really didn't know.  Yes, we get along well. Yes, I have offered my advice solicited and unsolicited countless times. It's what I do. Yes, we are family by marriage and so there is connection. But I hadn't really known how they saw me. And it meant something really great to hear it.

Do you acknowledge others in your life for no apparent reason?
What would happen if you did today, if you sent someone a note and let them know?
If you used the phone instead of a text message?
Go ahead, I dare you!
Extra credit if you use snail mail!


barbara stanny said...

Let me acknowledge YOU, Joanne, for inspiring me with your wisdom, courage, and beautiful writing. I love being in your presence, which is not nearly often enough. Keep up the great writing...thank you for being you! xo

Unknown said...

Wow! Barbara, thank you SO much for these beautiful words of acknowledgment! Miss you!

Colette Martin said...

What a nice surprise! Too often we get caught up in our own worlds and don't take the time to thank those who help and inspire us. Great post!