Thanks by proxy?

A talk show guest made a comment about the positive influences in his life. He mentioned a teacher who was so old when he was in her class, that she didn’t live long enough to see him successful. That tribute reminded me of all those who I remember fondly for teaching me life lessons or giving me a hand up along the way; so many of them are long gone or far away.

Now that I’m in a gratitude mode, what would I say to those kind souls if they suddenly appeared before me? Would they consider their expenditure of time, talent or treasure a good investment in the me I’ve become? Have I passed on the treasures they’ve shared with me? I am, after all, the composite of all my life experiences and all those giving souls who have shared my journey. When I think of appropriate thanks those “good intentions” come to mind.

A phone call from a panicky niece, who had to go to a government web site to fill out forms, gave me an opportunity to share my VERY limited computer skills and we were able to solve her problems and teach her how to do it on her own. When she hugged me tightly by way of  thanks, my eyes turned heavenward and I thought “Grandma, that one’s for you.” Oh, grandma never used a computer but she had a way of  taking the “frantic” out of every situation, as if she just absorbed your worry so you could calm down and see your task clearly. Today, I was “grandma” for my frantic niece and in my heart I knew my Grandma was smiling somewhere.

So, where is all this going? I’ve added a new wrinkle to my new year of gratitude. I’ll try to be conscious of the times I am able to pass on what was given to me, as a tribute to my benefactor. Thanks by proxy! Now, that means the original giver is unaware of the act, but those people in my life who were gracious  and caring enough to lighten my load or brighten my world wouldn’t care. They did it for the same reason I do it now, because it feels so good to help someone else! So now, the space left over on each Gratitude Journal page after my ‘daily five’ will be a list of those debts of gratitude I may have  repaid that day… by proxy! It’s never too late, you know! A tribute doesn’t just mean building a hospital wing with someone’s name on it. Every time you pass on another’s influence or ideas, you are paying tribute to the gift given you…and the giver. It doesn’t even mean you have to do more than you already do! Just be aware when sharing the gift of ‘you’ of the link that deed may have to a person in your life, and offer a silent tribute in gratitude.

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2 Responses to “Thanks by proxy?”

  1. The Meaning of Existence (and all that) » Gratitude Watch - 2009-01-09 Says:

    […] Obermiller at Sunny Side Up give us “Thanks by Proxy?” — a recognition of the wisdom or know-how imparted to her by others, the growth of character […]

  2. Jonathan Says:

    I love it. Thanks for sharing a great idea to expand the practice of thankfulness. I’m going to do this tomorrow… and the next day, too. Just being aware can open up so many interesting opportunities to be grateful.


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