Most of my prayer life focuses on thanking God. Even when life is chaotic and exhausting, there’s always an abundance of blessings.
I’m praying at my granddaughter Caroline’s bedside and a memory interjects. As I pray, a memory of flowers and of gathered friends and family steals my attention. I’m struck with regret that I have never written thank-you notes to the people who attended or to those who orchestrated the beautiful shower. Although nobody expected a note from me, it would have been a thoughtful way to express deep thanks.
As I’m kneeling at Caroline’s bed, a different regret surfaces: for weeks I’ve been carrying around a thank-you card to send to friends in West Virginia. Recently, they opened their house to us at the last minute when we needed a place to stay. I sent an SMS thank-you at that time, but, in my opinion, their generosity deserved a handwritten card – especially since my granddaughters had colored their own names on our friends’ wall with crayons. Our friends have opened their house many times in the last 15 years, and this time they opened it to five of us without much prior notice. What a blessing! But I’m still carrying that thank-you card, and every time I see it, I am frustrated that I haven’t mailed it. I thank God for them in my prayers, but I think that it is not enough. After all, God sent the physical Jesus into our physical world so that we could touch and see the handwritten word of God. The corporeal matters.
Four years have passed since Caroline’s baby shower. I’m not going to send those thank-you notes. Simply too much time has passed. But it’s not too late to send a note to our friends in West Virginia. I’ll hand write it and add a special thanks for not being upset about the Crayola signatures on the wall (and a thanks for supplying Magic Eraser.) I’ll do it not to assuage guilt, but because it’s the right thing to do. The tangible matters. Handwritten or typed, a physical note of gratitude is essential as long as we are still physical beings. I think God appreciates prayers of gratitude, but I think he also appreciates written notes of thanks to people. He sent his son; the corporal matters.