Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Just say Thanks

I remember a story of being thankful I heard when I was a little girl, in my CCD (Sunday school) class that has stayed with me all these years. It is a story about ten men who were healed of Leprosy and only one said thank you. Leprosy was a terrible skin disease that was incredibly infectious. There were strict rules which a leper had to observe. The person had to live outside the village away from other people so the disease would not spread. If the sores went away, the leper had to go to the priest to be examined. If the priest said that the man was no longer contagious, he could go back and live with his family.

Here is the story from the book of Luke. Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you whole.”

As a little girl I had no idea what leprosy was and yet the impact of this story stayed with me. Only one out of ten came back to thank Jesus for healing him and I wanted to be like the one who came back to “just say thanks“. Being thankful is not only a gift to the one being thanked but it is a gift to the one doing the thanks. When we say thank you we fully acknowledge what has been given. I believe that in this acknowledgement there is a kind of faith and it is in this faith that we are made whole. Whole with the gift, whole with the giver and whole within ourselves.

When Rob and I sit down to eat, Rob sometimes thanks God for the people who labored to grow the food we are about to eat. I love that! When was the last time you thanked your mailman or the bus driver who drives your child to school or the grocery clerk at the store you frequent? There are so many people who help our lives to go smooth and easy. Why not “just say thanks”? Last month I wrote about how my apartment got flooded and the staff here at the Villas helped me. I was thinking about all they did to set me up in a hotel, fix my apartment like new again and then send cleaners in to clean everything, right down to the windows. I wondered how many times a day they hear complaints instead of thank you‘s. So, I decided to send them a thank you gift and card. They were so grateful for my thank you gift and note and made it a point to tell me how wonderful it was. I have to say, that in this one act of sending a thank you gift, helped to turn what seemed like a bad situation into a good one. You see, once we realize that all there really is is love, we also realize that the rest is an illusion.

Here’s the thing about thankfulness, it acts like a magnet. When I am thinking about all the things I am grateful for, I begin to see my world from the cup is half full perspective and then it begins to grow into my cup overflowed. The opposite is true when I begin to complain. Suddenly the cup is half empty, and then fear sets in and before I know it, by golly, not only is my cup empty, so is yours! This brings new light on the words, “Perfect love casts out all fear”.

I would like to just say thanks to my readers, who have been following my column and for all your kind words of thanks and encouragement. One such reader recently wrote, “I've always enjoyed your column in the Minuteman...your philosophy is something I try to strive for in my life.” Thank you, Liz, for your beautiful words that encourage me to continue to speak from my heart.

I welcome your emails of what you are thankful for in your life. Please share them with me at:

Colleen is a teaching artist at Colleen Sgroi Gallery & Art Classes, 12 Andover Road, Billerica, MA 978-667-1009

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