The Gifts of Words and Gestures of Gratitude
Recently, I received a phone call from someone I greatly respect. A mentor. I respect him in every way–for his integrity, for the thoughtful way he approaches his work, for his faith, for his relationship with his wife and daughter.
The evening before I received the phone call from him, he had spent several hours teaching and mentoring my students. I had called him to see if he would volunteer his time. And, as always, he graciously agreed. The students felt privileged and honored to have this man speak with them and provide feedback to them. I did, too.
I know this man because I had the privilege of working for him–alongside him–for two years after I finished graduate school. He hires new graduates for two years with the clear goal of serving as a mentor. I learned more from him about writing, thinking, and integrity, than I learned in my four years of graduate school. He was–and is–the most ethical person I know. He was–and remains–the most brilliant person I know. So, of course, having him work with my students–even for a few hours–meant a lot to me.
The next day, I returned to my office ready to write a note of thanks to him. But, before I got the chance, he called. I was out of the office, so he left a voice mail. His words flowed with warmth and gratitude. He had called to thank me–for the “opportunity” to work together with the students. For the “gift of time” together. A time, he said, that he will “remember for a very long time. . . just all the ways it came together.”
I felt the same way–but he had the words. Thoughtful, gracious words. Words spoken from the heart. And, he had taken the time to pick up the phone and let me know. I will remember his words for a long time.
His small gesture flooded me with a sense of appreciation. Little things–a few words, a brief meeting or a phone call–make such a difference. Gestures of gratitude. Small, sincere, gestures, that make our relationships much more than they otherwise might be. The gift of a few, heartfelt words. Words spoken that reflect kindness, compassion, thanksgiving, gratitude. Healing words.
My mentor’s small gesture reminds me how profound and healing those small acts are. And, it reminds me that Christ asks me to live that way. He displayed that in His own life of compassion and healing. He taught that we need to “love one another.”
I can’t find the words sometimes. And, sometimes I forget to make the small gesture of gratitude, kindness, or compassion.
And so, I seek Christ. I look to Him to provide the words, gestures, and time so that I may reflect His grace, hope, and love.