November 04, 2021
By Rev. Ginger Gaines-Cirelli
“Thank you.” What power these small words hold!
While researching his role as a butler in the film, "The Remains of the Day," Anthony Hopkins interviewed a real-life butler who said his goal in life was to blend into the woodwork of any room like a mere fixture, a table lamp, an andiron. The real-life butler summed up an excellent butler this way: “The room seems emptier when he’s in it.” The goal is to do your work, fill the wine glasses, clear the plates and silverware without being noticed, much less thanked.
That is the effect of ingratitude: it makes people disappear. You are the center of your universe and can easily forget anyone else is around at all, even if they’re the ones making sure you have all you need! But a simple word of thanks makes people visible again, it humanizes them.
Saying “thank you” acknowledges gratitude for what someone does or who someone is. And at an even more basic level, to say “thank you” is to recognize someone’s presence, to acknowledge them as a fellow human being. If we take others for granted, they can begin to feel invisible, dehumanized, and devalued.
An example: When I get so wrapped up in my work that I fail to say thank you to Anthony for the ways that he supports and cares for me and for our shared life, then it is easy for me to forget all the ways he does those things. I can feel “on my own,” put out, weary, and resentful – ways of being that do not expand my humanity, but rather wear me down to a self-righteous nub. Gratitude is life-giving for all involved; saying “thank you” is no small thing.
This month as we celebrate Consecration Sunday and Thanksgiving, I encourage you not to take your important relationships for granted. Say “thank you” to the people in your life, acknowledge God as the source, sustainer, and guide of your life, and consider the role Foundry plays in helping you stay connected to God and others, providing ways to participate in God’s work of love, forgiveness, grace, and justice in community.
God prepares the table for us. By God’s grace, we prepare the table for others. Let us always come to the table with thanks!
Join us in preparing the table in 2022. Submit your estimate of giving at foundryumc.org/estimate.