Some years ago, I read a story about a group of adult friends who held a reunion over the Thanksgiving season. They were in mid-life and were remembering significant persons in their individual histories. One member of the group said, “Well, I remember Mrs. Simpson, a middle school teacher ove years ago, who went out of her way to introduce me to Tennyson.
He then launched into a colorful description of this woman who had made an obvious impression on his life. She had awakened his literary interest and developed his gifts for expression.
“And does Mrs. Simpson know that she made such a contribution to your life?” a member of the group asked.
“I’m afraid she doesn’t,” he replied. “I never told her.”
“Why don’t’ you write her now?” came the response.
The challenge was accepted, even though he had no assurance Mrs. Simpson was still alive. That night, this balding man in his mid-40s sat down and wrote his teacher of many years ago a Thanksgiving letter.
It took about a week for the letter to find her. The letter was forwarded from town to town. Finally it reached her. The following handwritten note came by return mail.
My dear Willie:
I remember well your enthusiasm for Tennyson and the Idylls of the King when I read them to you. You were so beautifully responsive. My reward for telling you about Tennyson did not have to wait until your belated note of thanks came to me in my old age. I saw your eager response when you were in my class. You will be interested to know that I taught school for fifty years. In all that time, yours is the first note of appreciation I have ever received. It came on a blue, cold morning and it cheered my lonely old heart as nothing has cheered me in many years.For me, this story beautifully illustrates that there is power in a “thank you” for both the giver and the receiver. Such an expression of Thanksgiving can lift at least two lives to a new level of wholeness. And God is honored in the process.