Speaking Gratitude.  Saying, “thank you”

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other…And cultivate thankfulness. – Colossians 3:15-16

Lauren’s loved ones teased her about the way she talked.  Lauren was incredibly precise with her diction.  Her speech was often marked by long pauses and softened phrases that could do no harm.  Lauren’s speech considered all present and managed to gently touch each person within ear shot.

It was this kind of care that only loved ones could tease her about.

It took me awhile to notice that one of Lauren’s signature techniques was to say, “Thank you.”

When conversations drifted towards uncertain territory, misunderstandings , or even tension Lauren would start her response by saying, “Thank you.”

“Thank you for taking this time with me.”  “Thank you for helping me see a bigger picture.”

“Thank you for all the time and thought you’ve put into this.”

“Thank you…” . I soon realized that this technique was genius.

By beginning with, “Thank you” Lauren was putting the conversation into the realm of collaboration.  It moved the discussion into a space where we were working together.

By beginning with “Thank you” I watched as she deflated aggression before it burst.

By beginning with “Thank you” Lauren reminded herself of truths too important to lose.  Truths about our mutually shared inherent worth; truths about the Holy Spirit working in and through all things; truths about remaining focused on what matters most.

And, perhaps the most practical application, beginning with, “Thank you” gave Lauren a chance to pause, breathe, and get her heart in the right place before speaking her mind.

In your conversations this week, particularly those that might be a little dicey, try beginning with, “Thank you”

Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary. — Margaret Cousins