I’m going way out on a limb here to guess that most of you have never served as a gatekeeper for a kid’s ski race. The process involves freezing on the side of a ski slope for hours, munching on granola bars and making sure that the young racers successfully go through the gates. Like a lot of volunteer work, it is an important role that isn’t particularly glamorous.
Towards the end of the competition yesterday, one young racer skied down to my position. I cringed, thinking she was there to complain that I had mistakenly disqualified her for missing a gate. Insecure gatekeepers like myself have nightmares about just these kind of moments. Instead she smiled and said, “I just want to thank you for being a gatekeeper today.” Then she skied off.
There were over 150 kids that raced that day. Many of them awed me with their coordination, agility, and daring. But she was the one that impressed me the most. She is the one I will remember. I have no idea if she won the race that day, but I have a sneaking suspicion that she will succeed in life.
Jesus once told a story about healing ten lepers. Of the ten, only one came back to say Thank You. I’ll bet it made his day, as that girl made my day. Receiving genuine gratitude tends to do that.
Who would you like to thank today? What spiritual practices increase your gratitude? And if you have children, what are you doing to help them express gratitude (other than nudging them at the appropriate moment and whispering “What do you say?”)?