"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Note of Thanks

A few of weeks ago while in Barnes and Noble, I picked up a book that has been on the shelves for several years -- but one that just took a little time to find its way to the New York Times Bestseller List. Maybe you've read it: Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. The true story is told by the two writers who the book's sub-title touts as "a modern day slave" and "an international art dealer." I must admit it is one of the most touching books I've read in a long time -- until I picked up its sequel last week, What Difference Do it Make? As the book jacket reads, "You'll have your heart touched by one of the most incredible odd-couple stories of the twentieth century." It goes on to say, "And if you've ever wondered whether one life really can make a difference in the world, you'll finish this book with an unshakable conviction the answer is yes."

The truth is not a day has gone by since closing the last page that I haven't thought of this powerful story told by two men of such differing backgrounds -- and just wondering: what difference might I make? And then I had the strangest thought that came so out of left field that I actually turned my head and looked.

"Thank the trash collectors."
"How many years have they been stopping by your house on a weekly basis?"
"Have they ever NOT picked up your trash when it was at the curb?"
"No, Sir."
"How many times have you thanked them?"
"I've waved. Does that count?"

I guess it would be of no surprise that trash day was the next morning. So I took out my Sharpie and inscribed a note of appreciation:
And then I ran it out to the bin with Scotch tape in hand.

Okay, so I was a little embarrassed about the whole scene, feeling ridiculous should someone ride by while I was actually posting the note. But it got worse: I ran back out and took a picture at the precise moment a car did turn the corner. Who in their right mind takes a picture of their trash can sitting on the street???

But I left it and went back inside. Later that afternoon, I noticed that the truck had come by and so I walked to the end of the driveway to retrieve the trash cart, all the while wondering if my very small sentiment had made any difference at all. And you know what I found? While I noticed that all the other carts lining the road had been haphazardly pushed up in the yards or even left in the street, mine sat perfectly placed at the end of the driveway as if the worker was responding, "Thanks."

I don't know. Maybe I'm making way too big a deal out of this. No, I didn't go to the local shelter and volunteer last week. And, no, I didn't consider adopting a baby from a foreign country. But this I do know. God calls us to make a difference. And sometimes it's just a matter of telling somebody you appreciate them.

What difference did it make? I don't have a clue how it made those guys feel. But for me, it felt good enough to try it next week with the mail lady. Maybe I'll even include cookies.

Just an ordinary moment...


Christi said...

Thanks for the little reminder! It is the garbage man, mail lady, and others like them that we so often forget to thank. I think I may follow in your footsteps this week and let a few people know how I appreciate them!

Joey said...

I think God was whispering in your ear, and I'm glad you listened.

The most amazing things happen when we do!

Christ be with you,

I read the book several years ago. Denver is still painting and preaching!

They have a new book out.. we need to buy it.