Jesus once healed ten lepers, all of whom were so ecstatic they took off in a big celebration without so much as a thank you to Jesus. Only one of them took the time and trouble to go back and express his gratitude.
Yesterday, in a totally out of character experience, I found myself trying to be more like the one, and less like the nine.
About twice a year we get reports from universities in Kansas telling us what sort of grades our transfer students are earning at their institutions. Well, at least we trust that they’re earning those grades and not getting them through a lottery or some sort of academic benevolence program. Every now and then, one of more of us will actually read those reports.
One such person on our campus asked me some questions about the report. I made up answers for a couple of his questions but had to dig deeper for some others. The deeper digging required a phone call to the university from whence had come the report. I called their institutional research department, on the mistaken assumption that someone there originated the report. Nope, the nice lady answering the phone responded, and immediately transferred me to another possibility. Second possibility was also very nice but had no idea what I was talking about.
Third person had no idea, either, but he stayed on the phone with me, briefly placing me on hold while he found out exactly who prepared the report and then transferred me to that person. She very politely and helpfully explained that there was no way she could provide me with the additional information that I wanted. I was dissapointed but did not allow my disappointment to dissuade me from preparing a nice little letter describing in some detail how persistently that Nick had helped me out instead of just transferring me to the first person he could think of. Then, I found out who Nick’s supervisor is and sent that letter to her.
I got a very prompt and appreciative response from her, thanking me for taking the time to compliment her staff and assuring me that she would share my comments with them. With five minutes of effort on my part, I contributed significantly to a better day for five strangers.
If all of us who like to feel appreciated would deliberately spend a few minutes a day expressing it for others, there’d be a lot more appreciation in the world. And we might find out that showing appreciation feels at least as good as receiving it.