In my book, BlessBack®: Thank Those Who Shaped Your Life, I tell the story of Elisabeth Elliot feeling compelled to return to the very tribe in Ecuador that took the life of her husband Jim. Elisabeth told her friend, “I want to go back, but I am afraid.” Her friend said to her, “Do it afraid.” And Elisabeth did.
These past two weeks at Hope Presbyterian Church in Richfield, Minn., we’ve learned about gratitude and the power of a BlessBack and how it changes our lives as well as the people we go back and thank. We have shared our stories of wanting to contact people from a long time ago and thank them for being an influence in our lives. As our guest speaker, Gloria Plaisted, shared with us in her story Nov. 28, sometimes we get enough promptings and nudgings and we can’t wait another day, we just have to express our thanks. And when we do, sometimes in our giving thanks, it is we who receive the surprise of our lives and are overcome with blessings.
We have a host of reasons not to give BlessBacks. We are shy. We say we’ll do it tomorrow. We worry the person we go to thank won’t remember us. And we’re afraid.
But what awaits you is gold, and you can only get to it by doing a BlessBack.
This coming Sunday I will have given five talks since Election Day 2012. With every talk, I’ve done, I’ve done it afraid. I like a silence audience: readers. But I’ve found golden people at each place I’ve gone to. Wonderful people. People who do little things with great love. I’ve learned that people are just people. And they are nice.
Last night, as we closed our study on gratitude and we held up our buckets filled with the names of people who have blessed us, I felt surrounded by golden people. Each one there was a world-changer, a world shaper. They exemplify what it means to live The BlessBack Life. One person in our group, Bev, shared that between our meetings she dialed a former Bible study teacher from decades ago, who now lives in California. When the person who received Bev’s call saw who was on her Caller ID, she picked up the phone and started talking, saying how happy she was to see who was on the phone and how good it was to hear from Bev. She didn’t even bother to say, “Hello.”
We think we need a reason to reconnect with someone who’s influenced us. We don’t. We just need to act, before time passes and we get on the “regret” side of things.
Do it shy. Do it while you procrastinate. Do it worried that the person might not remember you. Do it afraid.
But just do it. Give a BlessBack. There’s someone who’s waiting to bypass “Hello” to get to the heart of things.
Thank you to all the beautiful women to took time from your crazy busy lives to be a part of our time together. You have influenced me, by your kindness, your listening and your sharing your worlds with me. I am so grateful to be able to know you. You are golden.
And a special thanks to Bette Buelow, who bought a BlessBack heart pendant.
Julie Saffrin is the author of numerous published articles and essays. Her latest book, BlessBack: Thank Those Who Shaped Your Life, explores the power of gratitude and offers 120 creative ways to journey toward positive, lasting change.