Today is my last day at this internship. This week has been filled with exit interviews, surveys, and evaluations. Through all of that, I’ve discovered something that is lost in the workforce these days: thank you cards. Seriously. Do people not give thank you cards anymore? I’m not just talking about thank yous for gifts (although those seem to be missing as well), but just thank you cards for the opportunity to work and the experience received?
When I left my previous job (on very good terms and with many tears), I wrote a personal thank you card for every person I had encountered during my time there. Literally, everyone involved in the organization, partnering church, and school received a thank you card from me. I was floored by how astounded they were. Are we that ungrateful a society? Are we so unappreciative? One even asked me if they were generic. Of course not! If I’ve been working with you for 2 years and can’t find one positive and personal thing to say about you, there was something wrong with you, me, and our interactions. I was seriously flabbergasted by how shocked they were. But surely, I reasoned with myself, that was only their experience. Surely in the “real world,” in the corporate world, people would respond differently. Nope. Same thing here. I gave a thank you card and they were shocked that I was thankful for my time and the mentorship I received. Wow. Well, I guess the upside is this: I’m on extremely good terms with both organizations. Both see me as someone courteous and willing to work with them.
But I think there’s a greater lesson here: we need to be more appreciative. We need to see the good in people, organizations and our general interactions. We have become such a negative society, seeing what is wrong in every situation. We are so selfish and have such a sense of entitlement that we do not appreciate the experiences and opportunities that come our way. Let’s break this trend. Let’s be thankful. Let’s find one thing today to give thanks and rejoice over today. I think this will make a huge difference in the quality of work we produce and the day we experience.
On a separate, but maybe related note, I woke up this morning struck by 1 Corinthians 3:1-9, where Paul is admonishing the Corinthians for taking sides in an alleged leadership battle (begun by the church members). They were choosing their favourite leader and quarrelling about who was better, and who truly led them to God. Paul actually called them immature and said they were infants in Christ and of the flesh because of this behaviour (paralleling Hebrews 5:11-14). I didn’t understand why I was so struck by this scripture until I came in and checked Facebook and saw pics of my previous camp under the direction of the new supervisor. Now, for the record, this supervisor is amazing. He has a love for the kids and community, and a heart to be led by Christ. I am so thankful that he was hired*. But, I must admit (and only to you, my chocolatiers) that I have struggled with jealousy in the past year. I wanted to be the favourite, I didn’t want my kids or staff to love him as much as they loved me. I wanted to be remembered as the one who built that community. But I wasn’t. God was. And all I could do was be thankful that I had the opportunity to be part of His work. Truly, I may be the one who planted, and Kuya may be the one watering, but we are nothing according to the Bible. God gives the growth, and we are only working together to increase His kingdom. And wow! When I had that perspective this morning, my world shifted. I am so grateful to have been part of His work. I want to write a thank you card to Jesus for this experience!**
Examine today where you’re called to plant, water, till, or weed. Are you thankful to be there? Do you recognize that you are engaged in that ministry only by God’s mercy (2 Corinthians 4:1)? When your perspective shifts to that one, everything brightens.
*If you would like to learn more about the work of God at Camp Freedom, click here. To donate, click here and specify Camp Freedom.
**this has also helped me to see that they still love me, just in a different way. it has freed me to love them and support with a clean and open heart. It has also shown me that I want to be like Paul, planting and building ministries, then freely giving them over to another to lead and develop by the hand of God. hmmm…