Paul took the boys to school this morning and I stayed tucked in bed grateful for a little more sleep as I waited for Harper to rise.
As she and I settled into the kitchen together, I started brewing coffee and pecked away checking messages on my phone.
One message jumped out from the others. My friend Lauren had written an hour earlier:
They are reading your letter on Q100!!!
Immediately, having not had my coffee and still getting my bearings, I was confused.
What letter? Who is reading what? My letter???? What had I done? What LETTER?
Then came the wave of clarity and I was stunned.
It was an email, not a letter. Or, at least that’s how I’d thought of it. At the very least, it was certainly not something I expected to be read on a syndicated live radio broadcast in Atlanta, Nashville and Indianapolis.
I stood in my kitchen as Harper sat in her bouncy chair, coffee brewing on the counter, dogs meandering around and I pulled up my email while my hands shook.
I knew what I had written, but in my own panic, I needed to re-read and re-familiarize myself with what had been publicly and unexpectedly shared.
Everyone at The Bert Show:
I wasn’t sure who exactly to address this to, so I included all of you.
I caught your ardent plea soliciting letters for our troops overseas on my way to Emory Hospital Midtown this morning, and your discussion brought tears to my eyes.
I had already planned on having our family participate, yet now in light of the exceedingly low number of letters received thus far, we’ll commit to writing as many as we can.
Hopefully we’ll make an impact, albeit not a quantitative one, and at the very least give thanks to as many of our service men and women as possible.
Tonight, we had a much-needed and unexpected dinner together as a family. A moment which doesn’t happen that often since my husband works very long and late hours. I often find myself frustrated by this, yet putting it into perspective within the context of the sacrifices our troops make, we’re very fortunate.
Taking inspiration from your discussion this morning, as a family we sat down and talked about the sacrifices our service men and women make for us each day as well as the sacrifices that their families make.
As my six and eight year old sons began conceptualizing that families and troops go for prolonged periods of time apart and that moms and dads are not afforded the opportunity to share holidays, birthdays or weekends with one another, they were brought to tears.
The conversation that followed about appreciation, gratitude, responsibility, freedom, service to our country and honoring those who have given their lives so we could enjoy dinner together; was a meaningful teaching moment.
I applaud your effort and I most sincerely hope more people will commit to supporting the letter writing campaign.
Our family, like many, faces our own challenges. Through our own journey we have come to value and treasure appreciation, thankfulness and giving and receiving support.
We’re humbled by the sacrifices that hundreds of thousands of other families and troops make each and everyday for us and we hope others will step outside of their own lives and find the purpose and meaning that giving thanks to these individuals can bring.
Such a simple task with such profound impact for all and I hope thousands and thousands will accept your challenge.
Thank you and Cheers-
As a family we’ll be on a letter writing campaign this weekend. A hand written letter campaign to give thanks to troops serving our country overseas. The goal of The Big Thank You is to send 400,000 letters out so that service men and women will receive a hand written Thank You note on Thanksgiving Day.
I’m leveling a challenge to each of you. Take a look in the mirror. Just for a second. Look at who you see and consider this.
The face looking back at you looks just like the face of a mother, daughter or sister serving her country in Iraq or elsewhere. Or maybe it’s the face of a father, brother or son serving in Afghanistan or elsewhere.
The face of a member of our armed services who has missed every milestone in their families lives, hasn’t held that newborn baby, received or given a hug to a family member in months, counts the days until they can eat that home cooked meal, loves our country and is making a sacrifice everyday for you.
Look back in the mirror and consider that the face looking back at you looks just like a wife, husband, son, daughter, mother, father, sister or brother. A family member at home, making an equally difficult sacrifice as a military family. Facing challenges and obstacles and making sacrifices as their loved one serves our country preserving and protecting our freedom.
Now tell me you can’t find at least a few minutes to pick up a pen and a piece of paper and write a Thank You letter.
I wrote my email last night because I was moved at the utter lack of response in writing a simple Thank You. I never expected it to be read, but now it has. What was a moving and eye opening teachable moment yesterday for our family as we sat around the dinner table together, was a moment that will serve, I can only hope, to inspire you to think, find grace in your heart, give pause, step outside of your own life and think about someone else. Make it your own teachable moment.
A simple thank you is as fulfilling to the recipient as it is to the sender. Pay it forward and give thanks.