In 2011 I designed some letterpress cards bearing this haiku:
is a matter of sharing
what we’ve been given
From the moment I scribbled those words, I was convinced of the truth that being a hero doesn’t require anything magical or superhuman. It only requires us to share what we have. Looking at it that way, I started to see gratitude as something worth sharing as well.
So I started using these cards to write my own thank-you notes.
Life’s been busy in the years since, and many good things have come along. I found a job I really like, I married an amazing woman, we bought a house, we adopted two beagles, and life has been about as good as I ever expected. The good things also happen when things in general aren’t as good as we hope — as other people reach out to share their friendship, kindness and help. Either way, the list of heroes I started keeping years ago is now seemingly infinite.
My eventual goal is to thank as many of those people as I possibly can. It will take many years. If I were to thank every single contributor to my life, the task would certainly never end, and I will definitely run out of cards at some point. Yet however woefully short I fall, I hope all the overlooked (yet deserving) folks will understand.
That said, if you receive one of these thank-you notes, I hope it helps you to see how much even the smallest gesture or sliver of kindness has the potential to inspire and improve someone’s life. And in case there are things you’ve forgotten to express gratitude for, maybe it will remind you to pass the same sentiment along to someone else (I’ll even share a card or two for you to use, if I can).
Whether I ever get around to that handwritten note for you, I want to thank you for reading this message.