Handwritten letters are greatly appreciated in my home. I love carefully opening the fine piece of paper, making sure not to rip the valuable words enclosed inside. Letters are a tale of a life lived. They are a way of connection with much purpose and intention. It is so easy to text or email. A letter is thought out, written, sealed, stamped and sent. Writing a letter to someone acknowledges his or her importance. This is why Christmas and Birthday cards are still a huge market. We carefully choose the fine few who will receive them from us. We collect them on our fridges as badges of honor. I love to send written thank you cards for all the things we graciously receive. Being thankful makes my soul flourish. These thank you cards also deliberately acknowledge someone’s generosity.
We long for acknowledgment in our day-to-day lives. As we gain it we feel more whole. We seek acknowledgment from bosses, spouses, parents, and friends. I recently read an article on how we tell our kids “good job” too much. Now, I have a son who just started to walk. He unsteadily takes ten steps and looks right to me for acknowledgment. I would crush his heart if I were to look the other way in that moment. He needs reassurance that he has done just that, a “good job.” I do not believe we as a society are spoiled because of acknowledgment. I actually believe we have become bitter and tainted from the lack thereof.
We recently flew across country for a wedding for my husband’s longtime childhood friend. I am at that age where I cannot even start to complain about how much weddings cost us before the next roles around. We fly or drive, find a babysitter, buy a dress, sometimes wedding party attire, and give a gift to the couple. As I try and complain, remember that weddings are my favorite. When its time for the Vows, my husband looks over, watching for the water works to start. Weddings are fun, we get to catch up with old friends, and meet new. But, They are expensive. At this specific wedding we were sitting at beautiful decorated table, wrapped in gold and gray, and topped with gorgeous glassware. The beauty of the room alone was breathtaking. The Groom stood to give his speech and almost instantly the demeanor of the room changed. He individually thanked all of the guests that had traveled to partake in this day. It was not just a few. Almost half of the room came in for his wedding. Some from Trinidad, some from Japan, and some from (not so far away anymore) Florida. But he acknowledged us by name. He even noted our anniversary the following day. NOW THAT IS GRATEFULNESS, #Acknowledged. We did not need to be the spotlight, that acknowledgment alone made us the happiest people in the room. I will never look at my husband’s friend or being thankful the same way.
It only takes a few words, written or spoken to change someone’s outlook, to brighten their day. In a digital age, so many people are isolated and alone. The only acknowledgment they receive is from a computer screen or the amount of likes their social media site received. Many people will even turn to hollow and emotionless living searching for just a bit of joy.
Everyday I am thrilled to get the mail. Call me crazy, but I love seeing MY name printed on something. It means I am real- not just to my son, my husband, or a computer screen. Be it a credit card bill, or a greeting card., I am acknowledged. We all know the stereotypical person who needs a visit here or there- the widower, the homeless man. I think it is great to stand beside those and listen. But in a digital era, the most important acknowledgment you may make is to the person beside you, your aunt Helen, your coworker Bill, your child, and the guests at your wedding.