We all know that we're supposed to say thank you when we get presents. Depending on the circumstances, a verbal 'Thank you' might be appropriate... at other times a written thank you might be called for. Not only does the thank you reflect your appreciation of the gift, but it lets the sender know that the gift was received.
.. which is why I was so touched the other day, to receive a note from one of my neighbors.
You see - when we moved into our house, nearly two decades ago, the lawn was beautifully manicured, and the property was full of large, mature trees. There were evergreens, and oak trees, and even a few birch trees. Unfortunately, these large mature trees continued to grow, as trees often do... and we found ourselves with nary a ray of sunshine coming through our windows, and even our roof was growing mold from a lack of sunshine. So a couple years ago we had a vast number of trees cut down. This increased our sunshine factor, but did nothing for the look of the house. Yet none of the neighbors complained, and when we'd apologize, they'd politely respond that they knew it was a lengthy process.
(where IS Laurie going with this, you wonder.... have patience... it's a hot Friday afternoon. Have a sip of iced tea and relax a moment, while I get to my point.)
This year, we finally had all the old stumps removed, we did some major landscaping, we built a couple of stone walls -- well, you get the idea -- and at last, we felt like we were no longer the neighborhood eyesore that we had been. Yessiree, we were feeling pretty darned pleased with ourselves.
And then the other day, we received a notecard in the mail.
Not a postcard, not a folded slip of paper -- although those would have been fine - but a notecard. The notecard was from a neighbor. The message was brief...just a sentence or two... they just wanted to let us know how much they liked the work we'd done on the house, and how wonderful it looked.
Wow. We'd been feeling pretty good anyway. But the fact that a neighbor noticed... well, that was silly, of course the neighbors had noticed.. the work was fairly extensive. But the fact that a neighbor took it upon themselves to write us a little note and leave it in our mailbox... Well. That was really something, and it made us feel REALLY good.
Sometimes I think it's pretty easy to focus on the effort it takes for us to do things, and we don't think about the impact that even just a little bit of effort can have on someone else. And it's ok for the effort to indeed be 'just a little bit'... it doesn't have to take a huge amount of effort in order for it to count.
Just like tea. It doesn't have to take a huge amount of effort to make a really good cup of tea. Even just a small effort is well worth the result.