I love you.
They’re important words, to be sure. I can’t go a day without hearing “I love you” from the one that promised me for better or for worse. “I’m sorry.” begins the healing process almost every day in the walls of this house. And, “please”… well, my children learned early on that word was paramount to them getting what they wanted. The words strung together in all three of those statements are important. Most important? I used to think so.
My opinion has shifted in the past few years. Perhaps it is growing older… and maybe wiser. I’ve seen the overuse and lack of commitment behind the words “I love you.” It seems as if society, and the people within, have cheapened the meaning until there isn’t much left to the phrase “I love you.” I’ve heard myself mutter “I’m sorry” without conviction and without meaning on more than one occasion and I’ve watched my children model that behavior. “Please” has become simply a means to an end.
Mostly, though, it has been learning the meaning of these two words and learning how to use them in my daily walk with Christ, in my marriage, with my children, and in my life that has changed my opinion the most. To me and my thinking… these two words are the most important words in the English language.
In this equation and put together in this order… I can make a statement that becomes more about you and less about me. There is no “I” in “thank you.” Instead of focusing on me and my selfish ambition or vain conceit, I can utter a phrase that focuses on the one to whom I am speaking.
I’ve been astonished at the difference saying these two words has made in my life. After 40 years, I finally learned the meaning of “worship” when I began to thank God for the ways He blesses me. For the first time in my life, I learned it’s about Him and what He has done, not about what I want from Him.
The most amazing part? It trickles down… when I am grateful to the Lord, I find myself grateful to my man. When I say “thank you for… ” he notices that I noticed. It’s the same with my kids. I’ve spent so long correcting their behavior that my voice is now the voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher in their minds until I say “thank you for….” Suddenly, their selective hearing disorder is restored and they hear me and know that what they do matters… they matter.
… and it goes on and on from there.
I’m still a long way from living a life of gratitude. I still struggle with complaining and grumbling. I don’t always want to say “thank you for this trial” or “thank you for this test.” But, when I do… the trial seems less and the test easier. I cannot give you a scientific reason why… I just know this to be true.
A year ago, I read this quote and it has stuck like a burr to my sinful heart…
What if, tomorrow, you only woke up with those things that you thanked God for today?
If that were the case… then I would rest my case that the two most important words in the English language are…
I’m joining in with the gratitude community at Ann’s to say thank you on this Multitude Monday.
Today, I am thankful for…
… cool nights
… and warm afghans
… dark evenings
… and candle light
… hot and thick potato soup from a friend’s garden
… and the crunch of a BLT to go with it
… for a GOOD phone call from a teacher this week
… and the relationship he has with that teacher
… for those who chose to be a light in the public schools
… for football in the rain
… and friends to enjoy it with
… and a surprise visit from Papa and Mama
… and two amazing catches
… for sisters who stay together
… and make cookies together
… and laugh at The Lorax together
… and for Redbox coupons
… for the one who stays with me
… and spontaneous dates
… and then a traditional double date with friends
… and another friend who clips coupons because she knows of the annual trip to Red Lobster
… for the promise that two stay warmer than one
…. and when one falls the other will pick her up
… for a God who never leaves
… nor forsakes
…. and whose love is everlasting!