I did not grow up in a household where we were forced or encouraged to write thank you notes. It was certainly a nice thing to do, but not a requirement. Like any true gift, a thank you note should be given freely and not out of obligation.
In college, I was surprised to meet people that carried a deep sense of duty about writing thank you notes. Along with their duty came to me a corresponding guilt and shame for ever neglecting this duty and a sense of cultural superiority over others who did not share their sense of obligation. I tried to be that guy once, but it did not last long.
Technology has complicated the rules of offering a dignified thank you. It is much more expeditious to send an email, text, tweet, snap, facebook post, blog, or even make a phone call (gasp) than it is to get out stationery and ink, compose by hand, find the address, affix a stamp, and walk to the mailbox.
I suppose all the extra steps associated with handwritten thank you notes are part of what makes them seem more meaningful. They show effort, intention and time commitment. Perhaps they sometimes show that a person has too much time, something I don’t have.
Many of you in the ESK community are long overdue in receiving a non-obligatory, freely given thank you note from me.
Over the past five years, I have been surrounded by your words of encouragement, prayers, positive vibes, teacher appreciation breakfasts, boxes of chocolate, starbucks gift cards, christmas socks, new baby gifts and notes of gratitude; in fact, there have been so many that I could not keep up, even if I tried.
As I face my last two weeks as chaplain at ESK, I want everyone to know that I am truly grateful for all the support. Most of all, I am grateful for the opportunity I had to build relationships with you and your children. I have grown as a priest, father and as a man because I have been lucky enough to be chaplain at ESK. I will never forget you.
This was my first ever thank you blog. I think I could get used to it.