Remember when you were a kid and your parents had you write out thank you letters after you received a gift for your birthday or a holiday like Hanukkah or Christmas? Have you ever gotten a thank you note from someone out of the blue for something you did at your job, and you’re like, “I was just doing my job, wow!”
When I was at Harvard, I kept all of the thank you notes I received, even via email, and posted them on my wall near my desk. I liked to think of it as my wall of positivity. When I was having a very bad day, I’d look at the wall and remind myself, “THIS is why I do what I do.” Sometimes students would see the notes and remark on them, and tell me that it made them feel even more comfortable meeting and talking with me.
I had a great Zoom meeting with my faculty advisor this morning and felt really inspired afterward. We talked about how I can use my writing skills in humane education and she gave me lots of ideas and suggestions. I remember a comment she made on one of my assignments – had I ever thanked the Creative Writing teacher I had in college? And I thought of my work study job I had in college, where a true gentleman by the name of Carl G. Martin was my supervisor and ran the Office of Student Services. I’ve thought of writing to him and thanking him for the influence he had on me in my college years. But I’ve not done it. So, that ends today.
There are many people I want to thank for how they have positively changed my life. But today, I’m going to start with just one, and I would like to encourage any of you to send me your thank you letters and I will gladly post them here. Maybe you want to thank someone who is no longer with us, or someone you have no idea how to find or reach. You will receive all the credit, of course. I won’t edit them, I promise.
So here it goes, my first thank you letter, to my friend David B.
Thank you for having been my friend for the past 12 years. Thank you for always being such a calming, positive influence (even when you didn’t think you were.) Thank you for always be willing to sit and listen and then answer probing, thought-provoking questions in a non-judgmental way. Thank you for being “that poor bastard who had to deal with you for more than eight hours a day for two years, sharing an office with you!” (That’s what my now ex-hb said at one point, and I remember telling you, and laughing about it.)
Thank you for being that friend who was willing to sit across a table from me the night before I left my marriage. You held my hand as I sobbed, hysterically at times, not being able to catch my breath. I remember you giving me a key to your apartment in case I needed a place to stay. You didn’t say much that night, and I suspect you knew you didn’t need to. I just needed to know I wasn’t alone. I needed to know I wasn’t a horrible person, and that I was loved, even though what I was contemplating doing was ripping me up inside. And you let me know that I would be okay. It might take time, but I would be okay.
Thank you for watching me grow these past several years and for supporting my newest quest to start a master’s program at the young old age of 44, and not calling me insane for doing so. Thank you for understanding that like you, I need to constantly be learning to be happy with my life. Thank you for writing one of my recommendation letters for that program and for talking with me for quite a while beforehand, again, asking those great questions you always do.
Thank you for being that type of friend, who, when we talk, it’s like we just saw each other yesterday. Thank you for loving me as only a friend like that would.
If you would like to email me a letter or write one as a guest post, you can email me at chasingsimpledreams AT gmail.com. Or, please feel free to drop a comment on the blog with your email (the email is not shared or shown publicly), and I will gladly post it for you.
It’s my hope to get an atmosphere of gratitude flowing around those of us interacting here or reading the blog. When you’re grateful, it colors your whole world in a very positive light.
Thank you for reading.