You and I can probably name several people in our lives that seem to spontaneously give expression to gratefulness. When receiving a message or gesture of gratefulness from them, it exudes a not-so-subtle energy that reminds us of something or someone for whom we too are grateful. Sometimes we even act on that insight and sometimes it just doesn’t work out at the time. However, the power of that thankful gesture remains planted somewhere in our brain to be visited at another time or place. As a result, when future occasions for gratefulness arise within us, we actually might more readily pick up the phone, email access or, on unique occasions, actually find our dusty pen and writing material to send a card or letter to the person that awakened this gratefulness-space within us.

Recently, my family helped me celebrate the 60th anniversary of my monastic profession. One of their church friends had also heard about this, so she sent me a card. In it, she first commented on my celebration and then said what a delight in her life she felt to be able to regularly connect with my brother and sister-in-law. I wasn’t quite sure whether her comment about me or her comment about them was the greater gift. This friend probably has no idea how her consistent gracious words and actions affect other people. It seemed to personalize the recent comment of Heda Bejar who said, “The fragrance always remains in the hand that gives the rose.”

Mary Rachel Kuebelbeck, OSB