I was raised on the “magic words” of please and thank you. They are, in a real sense, pretty magical.  When we smile and thank someone for holding a door open, offering any gift out of love, or show kindness, saying “Thank You” goes a long way.

There is much more to these words, and the feelings that go with them, however.

President Monson’s words ring crystal clear:

Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love.” (The Divine Gift of Gratitude, October 2010 General Conference)

Lately, I’ve had a few stand-out occasions in which my proper “thank you” seemed inadequate for the kindness offered. And in which I was the recipient of those two lovely words.

It seems to me that Psalms 100:1 has many meanings.  To “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord” may be as simple and sweet as offering thanks. Surely it must please Him when we vocalize a feeling of thanks-giving.

Receiving Thanks

  • Having occasion to be in the right place at the right time, I was able to pay for a stranger’s meal when she realized she hadn’t brought her wallet. You can imagine her embarrassment.  I felt it, and my heart went out to her. It wasn’t costly, and wasn’t a big deal. But the look on her face was priceless. Her words of thanks made a deep impression on my heart, because I knew how genuine her words were.  And it made my day.
  • Writing a little note of concern to a friend who is struggling with life’ was a little thing.  But the Thank You I received in her return note brought tears to my eyes. I was the one who most benefited from a tiny drop of service. And it made my day. 

Giving Thanks

Doctrine and Covenants 6:8 explains that if we desire, we can be the means of doing much good.  Because of sweet goodness, I’ve been able to offer words of thanks many times lately. Over and over I realize that, while there is deterioration and darkening mists in this world, there is still plenty of kindness.

  • A couple of weeks ago, I went to Costco. Since there were only two things to purchase, my hubby decided to drop me at the entrance so I could go on it and gather them up while he parked the car.  Ever been to Costco – or any busy store – on one of those days’ when cars are like ants on a piece of candy?

I don’t shop by myself, since I’m not quite strong enough to gather up a bunch of groceries, place them in the cart, on the belt, then into the cart again, unload into car, and then again in the kitchen.  I know. I sound old. You may picture a decrepit lady, bent over. I don’t look that way. One would never guess the health issues of the past year, or their impact. (Just a note to realize that those with handicapped’ stickers on their car may look better than they feel. So might our neighbor, a passerby, or someone we see at the mall.)

While making my quick trip, I found a couple of great deals that shouldn’t be passed up. Or so I told myself.

With only five items in my hands/arms I was struggling. Trying to nonchalantly lean against a pallet of stuff, I stood in a long line, waiting to check out. After what seemed a very long while, we hadn’t moved a single shopper forward, and I was getting quietly concerned. And hurting. So I asked a lady behind me if I could balance my stuff on her cart. She nicely agreed.

Another lady, two people in front of me, turned around. In her lovely Indian accent, she smiled and said, “Please go ahead of me.” I wanted to cry.

After asking and receiving permission from the other shoppers in between us, I was able to place my purchases on the conveyor belt.

I must have thanked her five or six times. I hope she felt my sincerity. It wasn’t nearly sufficient for the gratitude I felt. The quiet joy remained, and it made my day.

  • Our sweet ward primary girls, for activity day, “Heart attacked” us. I’ve participated in this fun pursuit several times, but haven’t been the recipient until the other day. My hubby saw them feverishly working on our front door and windows, but he moved away from the foyer so they could joyfully do their service.  When the doorbell rang, we opened up to see the plate of Valentines cookies on the doorstep, along with darling notes of kindness and lots of cut out valentines.  “Thank you!” we yelled out, hoping they heard. If any of their leaders are reading this, thank you.

Thank you for teaching goodness, showing kindness, and blessing these young girls with occasion to learn just how much fun it can be to be of service.

Thanks for adding goodness to our world- our neighborhood- our ward – to the life of the Taylors.

  • This morning, sitting in my little home office, I looked up at a grouping of four pictures of Christ. These were given me by my friends, the Thornes, who live in western Idaho. Thank you again, my longtime friends. These drawings have been a blessing for many years now. When I look at them, I also remember you, and my thanks flow from my heart to you, who offered such a good gift.

 Thank you for being involved in many good works over the years, and inspiring others to do the same. I am aware that the ties between us are stronger    than the mortal ones. And I’m grateful for you.

Studying those drawings, it was as if I saw them in a brand new way. A prayer of thanks became deeper and took in thoughts of many things, on many levels.


 

Thanks to our Savior and to our Father

While I know He loves us to the point of giving His all in Gethsemane and on Calvary’s hill, I know nothing of all the other things He did while here in mortality. Nor do I remember all He did before we came to this mortal sphere.

It is deeper, wider, and higher than I can even fathom.

The Good Shepherd looks after His sheep. He waits for the wandering ones to return. He reaches out in ways we know nothing of, in order to place markers. Or so it seems. One day, those markers will come to the mind of His lost sheep, and they will come back to Him.

His day to day life – the hardships and the heartbreaks – those are quietly tucked away, and we know little of the loving kindness He has offered mankind. He does, still. How can I sufficiently thank Him?

I feel His love. I sense His compassion. I know of His teachings and love them. It seems as though it is impossible to adequately thank him. Yet, he has told us this:

“If ye love me, keep my commandments” He said. I may more effectively thank him in the manner, too.

By my thoughts, my actions, my words, I hope to show Him of my gratitude.

I hope to fully, completely let go of the worldliness enough to do all that I do for Him and for our God. No compensation is required in this type of gratitude. No honors or recognition of the world, and the people in it, are connected to my proper thanks.

I can love. I can serve. I can delight in giving and in receiving service. If not so much as in days past with so much CES teaching and singing, through this lovely Meridian Magazine online, and through my own website as well as any technological means available to me.

I can continue to thank Him through being the best wife and mother I know how to be – and working to improve all the while. I can do so by helping in my ward, supporting my husband in his service as a member of the bishopric, and in offering something of goodness to my neighbors.

Moreover, I can continue to do as Elder David Bednar has counseled:

Let me recommend that periodically you and I offer a prayer in which we only give thanks and express gratitude. Ask for nothing; simply let our souls rejoice and strive to communicate appreciation with all the energy of our hearts.”
(Elder David A. Bednar, Pray Always, October 2008 General Conference)

While I have known of the principle of gratitude all my life, it keeps growing in brightness and beauty. Exercising the magic words- genuinely and deeply -including the offering of prayers in which I ask for nothing, but simply offer gratitude, my ability to better grasp this beautiful principle will continue to grow.

I’m so thankful!

Vickey Pahnke Taylor is a wife, mom, and grandmother who joined the LDS Church as a teenager.  She is a song writer, author, and public speaker. Her website is  www.goodnessmatters.com, where she  offers an online spot to share goodness, faith, and hope in simple ways.  She studied musical theater for her undergraduate work, and has a Masters degree in communications.

She has taught Church youth & family programs for more than 25 years, has written books, hundreds of columns, & created hundreds of songs all with the intent of growing goodness and pointing people to Christ.  She also writes for the website  www.nauvootimes.com .

Vickey loves nature, going on drives with her hubby, laughter, brownies and tootsie rolls. She teaches Gospel Doctrine in her ward. Her husband, Dean, serves in the bishopric. They are the parents of eight children and have seven grandchildren.