Two words. There are two words painted in bold red on the windows of a building in my town of Berlin, Connecticut. If you, like me, welcome any generation of positive energy, then I suggest you take a look. If you do, you’ll see and then perhaps you may feel how, that when in the presence of gratitude, you cannot help but feel a little bit or a whole lot of good. In fact, the image of those hand-painted words has danced around in my often crazed “mommy brain” for the past week. And every time I thought of them, they moved me…those two simple words.
In my best efforts to raise a well-mannered child, I have prompted my 5 year-old time and time again with the familiar question that many parents know all too well, “What do you say….?” The answer that I wait for with bated breath and with wide, hopeful eyes is…“Thank you”. Children need reminders, but on the wondrous occasions when those two words find their way out of their mouths all on their own, it is as if the angels in heaven have proudly gestured to us parents with an approving wave of reassurance, saying, “See, you ARE doing a good job”.
And reassurance feels good…really good…especially this month. In our town and in our world there has been a call to stand up, to look, to acknowledge, and to act…a call to be an adult, a true citizen, one who thinks beyond the walls of his or her home and even his or her life span…one who thinks about the greater good.
Let’s face it, it’s hard not to see what is happening all around us because there are so many visual images that bombard us as we navigate our days. Aside from the clocks, the calendars, the computer screens, the newspapers, the flyers, the stacks of probably-useful-may-someday-need-it-hard-to-throw-away-magazine clippings and the absolutely-necessary-or-else-I-may-forget-to-breathe-today-sticky notes, there are so many more images that tug at us from morning until night. And then, of course, there are the ones that seem to creep up and bounce around in our heads just as we settle ourselves in for sleep. All within seconds, a “slideshow” of images and words runs across our minds like the ticker tape runs across the bottom of the local news channel…and we are left to process and filter and process some more.
This month it seemed to me like there was just too much to process, but in my search for a little reprieve, I didn’t have to go very far. This month, for me, I found peace in the very thing that I felt I needed a break from...a visual image. After being a part of ensuring that our local high school building gets the much needed renovation it deserves, I celebrated a victory for the “greater good”, and then packed up my own “goods”, my 5 year-old and 7 month-old, and drove them to take a glimpse at the exterior of a building that they will someday enter as, gulp….adolescents. And there it was, the image that I didn’t realize just how much I desperately needed.
The words, “Thank You” painted in stop-sign red on a wall of windows on the front of the high school literally stopped me in my tracks. After a few minutes, I drove away, but those words followed me all the way back home and then, thankfully, they found a “home” in my busy mind. So, I made them a part of the visual landscape of my house by writing them on the framed blackboard in my dining room. And I love them…I love those words.