This week, I heard the very sad news that a lovely woman in my community passed away from cancer at the age 54. I didn’t know her well, but we had intersected in a number of ways several years ago. For one, she had coached my daughter in a favorite sport in high school, and she was always kind, generous, loving and supportive to my daughter and to the other girls. I’ve experienced this as a rare thing when it comes to competitive sports in affluent towns that are all about “winning.”
It rocked me deep inside to hear of her loss, for a number of core reasons (including how her family would miss her so terribly and how tragic it is to lose a loved one so early in life.) But another reason that hit me hard was a deep sadness and regret I felt in my heart that I hadn’t thanked her enough for her kindness – the lost opportunity for me to share with her that, unbeknownst to her, she had made a lasting positive impression and impact on me and my daughter.
Strangely, just one night later, I was channel surfing on TV and noticed the film “It’s a Wonderful Life.” I realized that I’d never seen the move from beginning to end, and decided to watch. I was moved and I cried (as millions of others have over that movie). One key message from the film is that we can make an enormous difference in the lives of others, and in our community and the world, without ever truly realizing it.
It got me wondering this:
Who would I like to thank right this minute for the impact they’ve had on me that I’ve failed to acknowledge?
Who made a real difference in my life (in small or big ways) and doesn’t even know it?
And who would I feel a deep pang of sadness and regret if I hear they have left this life and I never expressed my thanks and appreciation.
This season, let’s all take a 21-day “I Deeply Appreciate You” challenge of thanking 21 people (or more) in our lives who’ve made an impact, a difference, or opened a door for us or offered a helping hand that changed our lives for the better?
Let’s reach out in any way that calls to us – an email, a handwritten note, a small gift or token of our appreciation, a phone call, to share our heartfelt appreciation for their kindness, generosity, love, and support.
Then, let’s spend a few minutes every day for these 21 days thinking (and journaling) about what it feels like and how it impacts us directly, to thank others for what they’ve done and been that helped us.
I, for one, simply can’t live one more minute focused on the news, the horrible headlines, the divisiveness in our country and world, the hate and negativity that’s seeping into our daily existence. I’m done with immersing myself in that darkness and rage. I want some new light to surround me now, and I’m going to do something to help generate that light – and that something is giving thanks for all that is beautiful, loving, and life-affirming around me.
I hope you’ll join me in my “I Deeply Appreciate You” challenge starting today, and share what emerges from it.
Here’s my start: I’m sending much love and appreciation your way, for reading my messages and enriching my community. It makes every day so much richer and more positive for me to be in connection with heart and soul-aligned people who are ready to “find brave” in their lives and to do the inner work required to become the highest version of themselves, rather than succumb to all the negativity, hopelessness and darkness around us.
I’m sending much love, light and appreciation to you,