When I was growing up, the magic words were not “abracadabra” or “wingardium leviosa,” but “please” and “thank you.” As I child, I could understand why please was a magic word. It helped you to get what you wanted because it was used in conjunction with a request of some kind. But thank you? In my young mind, I saw that as just flat out being extra nice.
I see thank you quite differently these days. It is more important than I thought as a child. Just a simple thank you, especially to a stranger, acknowledges the humanity of the other person and recognizes your interdependence and connection. I am surprised at how many times I get a heartfelt, “You’re welcome!” from a clerk or a stranger to whom I have simply said, “Thank you.”
Saying thank you, whenever I have the opportunity, reminds me how much I am receiving from others all of the time. This helps me to see how much I need other people; in many different ways. It’s not just all about me and what I do. Thank you reminds me that I am dependent on others and it helps me get away from being so self-centered. Thank you undermines the tyranny of the self.
Thank you makes me realize that I am constantly benefitting from things that I did not do, that I did not create, that I am not responsible for, and that I cannot control.
So, that simple thank you, is a magic word. It takes my beyond myself and makes me aware that I am part of a much larger reality that includes other people, known and unknown to me. That larger reality involves the natural world which supports life. And it alludes to the mysterious unknown, named God by some, that is at the heart of it all.
In this season of gratitude at LUCC as we prepare for Sharing the Harvest at The BIG Event on Sunday November 18, I am going to try to say thank you more often and let that simple act work its magic. Will you join me?
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16