As we looked through Aunt C’s personal property the other day, preparing to give away most of it, I noticed items here and there that I had given to her through the years.
- Aunt C displayed prominently a personalized birthday card that I sent her 6 years ago. I had never noticed that on her shelf before.
- A handful of DVDs, which I loaned to her long before her hospitalization, were next to the television. I had forgotten about them.
- Sari fabric that I brought home from Brixton 15 years ago was right there as well.
Whether I had a positive influence on my aunt’s life, I never thought to ask. It must have been pleasant enough for Aunt C to hold on to a few items from me. However, you never know.
One thing I do know: I have sent notes to people describing what a wonderful influence they have had on me. They have those words in black and white, so there will be no mistake about how dear they are to me or how they have helped me.
From personal notes given to janitors and supervisors during summer internships in my student days, to personalized birthday cards, to random letters to a relative sent because it’s Tuesday, letter writing has been my way of expressing gratitude for the positive encounter provided by another person.
I’m not saying that you need to go out and buy new stationary and a fountain pen or sky write “I love you.” However, I would encourage you to find your way of expressing to someone else how they have helped you in life and make a habit of it.
You may never know your full effect on another person, but help other people to understand their influence on you.