In the middle of the night, it suddenly occurred to me that I'd forgotten to thank someone for a favor. (Yes, some of my best thinking/planning/worrying time is done at 2:00 am. I bet a lot of you can relate.). The person who helped me is an acquaintance, not really a close friend, but she was incredibly kind and went out of her way to help me with a project. We only cross paths every few months, so sad to say, her kindness slipped my mind. My bad! What did I do? I jumped up out of bed to write her a quick note before it slipped my mind again.
Could I have e-mailed her instead, or waited until morning and called her? Yes, of course. Chances are she has completely forgotten the favor she did, and being a generous soul, she wouldn't expect a thank-you note. There's something about taking pen to paper that seems more "significant" than just tapping a few keys for an e-mail. At least, it seems that way to me.
I'm always thrilled when someone takes the time to write to me, and one of my most treasured letters is from a former colleague. I was leaving the practice and she had organized a lovely good-bye party. She wrote to tell me how much she had enjoyed working with me and she insisted that I'd helped her find her path in life. Wow. I was floored and didn't expect that. I had helped her with a few things here and there, written a letter of recommendation, suggested a few contacts, that sort of thing. I had no idea that my words had had such an effect on her.
I started thinking of all the people over the years who have helped me and how they have made my life so much easier and more pleasurable. Knowing them has been a joy.
Do you have people like this in your life? Sweet friends who are invariably kind, happy to see you and always have a word of encouragement for you? People who will put aside their own busy schedules to help you out of a jam or meet you for coffee to mull over a difficult situation. I have been so blessed that I do, and I hope you have, too.
So the next time you experience a "kindness" from someone, think about sitting down and writing them a quick note. I promise you they will treasure it.