“Thank you.” No more valuable words were ever spoken. So simple, yet so profound.
Marti recently met for lunch with a well-known author and researcher who began their conversation by thanking her. Marti recalls being completely unsettled by this. The surprising thing is that she doesn’t even remember what he thanked her for now — it really didn’t matter — it was the mere fact that he was thanking her, and what that did for her, that mattered.
What does “Thank you” say that makes such a difference? It says many things. It says:
I notice you.
You are a contributor to my life.
I came here to meet you. If you came to meet me, that’s fine, but that’s not why I’m here. I’m here to meet you, and I consider it a privilege that you took the effort and the time to get here. “Thank you.”
You have enriched me; you have made me a better person.
You are a valuable asset to the kingdom of God.
You touched me.
You are important.
Saying “Thank you” means all of this and more. It also brings us out of isolation. It connects us to something bigger than ourselves. It is humbling, because it turns the focus away from us and onto someone else.
“Thank you” makes you vulnerable to all sorts of other human emotions. It opens you up. It says you can’t do it on your own. It connects you with others and it connects you with the universe. It’s humbling, because it says you have needs — you have holes in your life and your character that need to be filled. You are not self-sufficient. “Thank you. You gave me something I did not have before.”
“Thank you” puts you below or equal to, but certainly never higher than someone else, and this is in keeping with those who are carriers of the message of Grace Turned Outward. Grace Turned Outward is never Grace Turned Downward. You never hand down grace. That’s because grace, to be fully understood, comes to us when we are down. There is no one below you when you receive the grace of God, and since we receive the grace of God daily, there should never ever be anyone below us. That’s why it is grace turned out. There’s no other place for grace to go except out and up.
Jesus once had ten lepers call out to Him for mercy. Jesus told them to go present themselves to the temple priests, and as they were going, they were all healed of their leprosy. “Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered and said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner’?” (Luke 17:15-18) I guess not. The others were not able to see beyond themselves to even say, “Thank you.”
Saying “Thank you” is so important when everything we have comes from God and nothing comes from us. “Thank you” is a way of life.