This week while messaging a friend who had questions regarding the I AM GRATEFUL event, I realized that my explanation to her was really one that many may need to read. I apologize if the posts regarding this movement have seemed a bit unclear over the last few weeks. Blogging isn’t necessarily how I communicate best at times.
So for those who need the abridged, condensed, abbreviated, in-a-nutshell kind of version of what I’ve been trying to explain for weeks, here you go! And if you need a refresher of the gist, here you go!
The gist of the movement is that all throughout the month of April (and beyond) we will make a point of focusing on different people who have contributed to our lives—either in the past or present. Then we will take that gratitude from a simple fleeting thought and put it into action by openly expressing our thanks in a note, all the while remembering that silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.
So we thank God for them first. And then when possible, we drop that person an out-of-the-blue note of appreciation. It takes a bit of detective work to find some of the people we may want to give thanks to. (Prime example, I’m trying to locate my teacher from 6th grade! That man helped me in so many ways when I was the NEW kid in a NEW town going to a NEW school! So far I haven’t found him. But I’m not giving up yet!)
A few of us are attempting to bless 30 people in 30 days with our notes of gratitude. Others are writing as many as they can—setting a goal that works best for them. I encouraged those who had limited time but still wanted to bless others, to consider batch writing. Batch writing is when we write several notes on our day off each week or however it works best for us. Keeping in mind that the goal is to bless a certain number of people in the month.
Why make a goal to write a certain amount, Teresa? Because without a certain number in mind, be it 30 notes in a month or in the case of John Kralik, 365 notes in a year, time will get away from us and by the end of the month or year we will find that we didn’t bless any people or we blessed very few.
The reason in calling for a month of this writing exercise was to help us to become regular givers of thanks. If it takes 21 days to form a habit, by the end of April we would be well on our way to becoming more openly grateful people. Something most of society needs to become!
The premise of the movement is that it goes beyond simply writing the typical thank-you note commonly sent for a recent gift we’ve received.
This is the reason I chose the phrase “I AM GRATEFUL”.
By choosing to engage in this simple act of expressive gratitude, we can make a point of reaching out to people with whom we may have lost touch or with someone where the relationship has become somewhat strained or silent. It speaks a message to the recipient that we still value and remember them for their kindness, generosity, or friendship to us even months or years later. It safely arms us with a valid reason of why we’re contacting them and makes it less awkward for us to reach out. By starting your note with, “This might seem very out of the blue to be hearing from me, but I was thinking of you today and remembering how you _________. I just wanted you to know that I am grateful for ____________.” Again, it’s less awkward. And most of the time we humans won’t set out to do things that make us feel awkward, right?
God has shown me that re-connection and healing will begin in relationships simply through the simple act of expressing gratitude! I’ve cried over the vision of what I believe is possible! I KNOW that we have the capability to breathe life back into someone’s heart through our sincere words of appreciation. These notes can become the grace notes in the melody of life. I wrote about grace notes in the guidebook I offered last week. It’s such a beautiful illustration! Can you imagine how moved YOU would be to receive a sweet message of sincere gratitude in the mail???
Sadly, many have been confused with the whole I AM GRATEFUL campaign, as the messages that I have received verifies. I realize that I’m not the best at explaining sometimes. And it might have just been too short of notice for people to grasp exactly what this whole thing was about. In creating the Facebook event last week, my hope was that people would remember that the April challenge was quickly approaching. I fear it only confused people all the more. (sigh)
However, I put together a guidebook that would further explain the practical ways of how best to be proactive in letting people know that we think of them with gratitude. You can still grab a copy of that guidebook if you like. It’s my gift to you and I would be honored if you would receive it from me.
Thank you for your patience in this I AM GRATEFUL series and the movement. Never have I felt more passionate about the message and the hope it brings!
Now, may we—with pen in hand, bless someone’s day in a truly profound way!