Dear Friend... Thanks from the bottom of my heart for your gift. It’s such a beautiful candle. Honestly, it’s the prettiest candle I’ve laid my eyes on. The way it just sits there on my kitchen counter, showing the world its beauty. I cannot wait to light it up and fill my house with the smell of pumpkin pie. Every time I light it up, I will think of you. You and that candle are one and the same. If only my words could express my true and honest gratitude… Hope to see you soon.
Your Long Lost Friend...
I sign the letter and read it over one more time.
Who am I writing this to again?
I hold it up into the light as if God will inspire me right then and there to write something more spectacular - more heartfelt.
Where even is that candle she gave me?
Hopefully she doesn’t see through the overly-used flattery words I tell all of my students not to use.
I close the thank-you note, place it in the envelope, and question for the millionth time the reason behind thank-you letters in the first place.
One sweat-drenching, humid day in July, I got married in Augusta, Georgia. However, before I got married, I went to several different wedding showers and received more gifts than my heart and mind could fully grasp. I was truly overwhelmed by the blessings bestowed on my husband and me. Then I realized a dreaded truth about showers - I had to write thank-you notes. Do not misread my words. I was and am still thankful.
But...how...HOW do I illustrate my gratitude to 400+ gift-giving, hard-working, Jesus-loving people without sounding like I stole the words off of Pinterest?
Because let’s get gut-wrenching real for a second. No one really likes to write thank-you notes. We all wish we could just say “thanks” in person, smile, and maybe even hug if we like that person a little bit extra. However, if we say that out loud, then that means we are heartless, spineless, selfish people.
We are human-beings. We live busy-filled lives. We run around on a daily-basis yearning for more time to run around. We simply do not have the time to make each thank-you letter flawless and sincere.
Do we have the time, but we choose not to make it? Is there a way to adequately show others our gratitude without sounding like a broken record?
I am reminded of David in the book of Psalms. He quite literally writes the quintessential thank-you letter to God - on numerous occasions. He pours out his soul and says, “God, here I am. This is me.” David doesn’t throw in cliche words and idioms. He gives God his whole self. His whole broken, sometimes foolish self.
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalms 100:4-5. NIV.
David praises the Lord for his goodness & his love that never-ever fails. You cannot read this thank-you letter without feeling David’s gratitude reverberate in your bones. I imagine David on his knees, tears streaming down his face, as he raises his hands and heart to heaven...giving the Lord his being.
“God, my God, how great you are! Beautifully, gloriously robed, dressed up in sunshine, and all heaven stretched out for your tent. You built your palace on the ocean deeps, made a chariot out of clouds and took off on wind-wings.” Psalms 104:1-3. The Message.
If only my words could mimic David’s as he verbalizes his delightful gratitude letter to the Lord. Then people would know how thankful I really am. He or she would know - without any doubt - my heart is filled with joy because of his or her giving spirit.
Maybe, just maybe, the secret to writing the perfect thank-you letter is first changing our own hearts. Changing our hearts to visualize the gifts from others as hearts freely giving love. Hearts giving time, money, and soul to place a smile on my face. Your face. Whether or not the gift-giver is genuine is not for the gift-taker to decide. We must choose to see the wonderful or we will always find the awful.
I wish there was a step-by-step process to formulate an ideal thank-you letter. However, if we strive to be heartfelt, then the words we create must derive from the heart. My heart is different than yours; therefore I cannot tell you what to write. However, I can help you change perspective. Recite these statements before you begin writing:
He or she gave this to me wrapped in love.
He or she took time.
He or she spent money.
He or she is a child of God.
Regardless of the person’s heart...speak these statements. The gift-taker doesn’t need to judge the gift-giver’s heart. The gift-taker just needs to illustrate God’s mercy and unfailing love through the spirit-filled gratitude letter he or she will write.
I lay down on the couch and pull the letter back out of the envelope. First, I thank my Savior for giving me the gift of writing. I thank Him for giving me someone in my life that took time and money to send me a gift. Then I begin again...pouring out my soul as David did…
Dear Friend... Thank-you for thinking of me. Thanks for taking your precious time to send me a gift. Regardless of the fact that Bath and Body Works candles are my favorite, your gift instantly brightened my day. Your light and heart is an example to me. I hope to see you soon. Your friendship is truly a blessing.
Your Thankful Friend…
Thanksgiving Day is but one day. Let's strive to change it to Thanksgiving Daily. Thank-you letters can be a simple phone call, text, letter, or taking time out of one’s day to hang-out. Perfection cannot be grasped, but authentic gratitude can. Let’s pour out our souls to one another daily and remember the faithful reason we have to be forever and ever grateful.
Always, Savannah Dockins
- I’m just an English teacher pretending I can write. I am originally from Augusta, Ga. I met my husband at Faulkner University where I recently graduated. English is my passion. Yes, that includes Grammar. (Even though I’m still learning rules.) I am obsessed with reading. I literally read at stop-lights. It’s unhealthy. I teach middle school English at PCA. My students keep me young-er than I already am. I love Jesus. He’s given me more than I can fathom. If you don’t know Him, you should. He’ll change your life. My husband is my best friend and the steady to my nutty. We are proud parents of Chipper - our hyper Australian Shepherd. I believe in living life to the fullest with arms and hearts wide open and knees calloused from praying.