I’ve drilled it into my kids to always say “thank you,” Even if it seems like something small to them. Gratitude is important, even for the little things.
“Thanks for helping me with my hair this morning, Mom.”
“Thanks for the ride!”
I don’t get those words nearly as much as I’d like. And so, I do that annoying thing that exasperated parents do–I thank myself out loud. “Thanks for dinner, Mom.” “Thanks for helping me with my homework, Mom.”
It does nothing productive for my relationship with the kids–it only leads them to eyeroll.
Our gospel lectionary text this week is the story of the ten people with leprosy being healed and only one coming back to say thank you. They were already made clean, but the one that came back was made well by his faith.
Gratitude gives perspective. It teaches us to be thankful for the little things. It teaches us not to take anything for granted. It teaches us that everything is a gift.
Last year, my husband was in a terrible bicycle accident. He broke his arm in two places, and had a bad concussion. The kids were genuinely worried for him, especially because his face had a pretty bad case of road rash.
On the day of the accident two neighborhood women called me from the scene to tell me about the accident, and to let me know that they had my husband’s bike. They also checked in by phone throughout the day, to make sure he was ok.
The kids wanted to visit with the women because they wanted to say thank you. They didn’t have to do that–I was certainly prepared to express my gratitude on behalf of the family. But it was important to them that they say thank you in person. They felt a connection to these women because they had stayed with their dad at a difficult moment for all of us.
In saying thank you to our new friends, all of us were transformed. Our new friends saw the fruits of their neighborliness, and my children were to meet the strangers that cared for their dad. Our neighbors didn’t stay with my husband because it was convenient, but because they believed it was the right thing to do. That kindness deserved a special kind of “thank you.”
I wonder if that’s what happened with Jesus too? Was he transformed by the gratitude of the one who came back to say thank you?
I think he was. I think Jesus appreciated that people noticed what he did, whether it was big or small. The gratitude transformed that miracle into something miraculous for Jesus too.
This week–in light of the text for the week–I’m going to focus on gratitude during our evening meals. What are the things my kids are thankful for? What are the things that I am thankful for? And how do we express our gratitude?
This week, I’ll tell the story again of our neighbors for whom we are so grateful. And we’ll remember the transformation we all experienced last year when we met our neighbors and said “thank you.”