It had been a typically busy, hectic day. My thoughts were still with those earlier appointments when, just moments after arriving home, the phone rang. The voice that answered my distracted greeting whiplashed me into the present, then to the past, years ago, when he was a student and I, a teacher. Memories flew to the fore as I stumbled from unknowing to recognition, remembrance.
“It’s been a long time,” the voice said. “I’ve been thinking of you, and reflecting on my life, searching for a deeper spirituality, a deeper meaning to my journey -- and I realized that you taught me how to do that, way back then. You did so much for me, and I want you to know how grateful I am.”
This wordsmith, this “Itinerant Papist Preacher,” was moved to silence. (Friends would tell you that it doesn’t happen often.) My eyes were suddenly, unusually moist, responding to the precious gift my former student had given me: the gift of gratitude.
Thank you: Two words which indicate that, at least for this moment, I have broken the bonds of self-absorption to acknowledge you, the other. To revere you, who you are, what you have done. A small but valued gift I give to you, for the gift you have already given me.
Thank you: Two words that become prayer to the God whose goodness you have revealed to me, whose love is real and apparent in this moment, in every moment, for those whose blindness has given way to sight.
Thank you: A prayer waiting to be found in the events of each day, waiting to be revealed in the one close at hand, or in the one far away, but near again, in this moment. A prayer yearning, needing to be said, and heard.
Thank you, Friend. Thank you, God